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Toyota, Northwood University and Others Help Launch Innovative Pathway

October 22, 2018

Collaboration Grows Automotive Industry Careers from Pre-K to Master’s Degrees

MIDLAND, Mich – Northwood University is proud to continue its long standing partnership with Toyota and the automotive industry by offering the Advanced Manufacturing Business (AMB) pathway for students as part of the FAME Career Pathway, possibly the first of its kind in the nation.

FAME, the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education, a collaboration of employers, colleges, universities, STEM organizations, workforce advocacy groups, government and others, is expanding the FAME model across North America. The first achievement of the full FAME Career Pathway, announced this month included: Harrison County School District, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Northwood University, Project Lead The Way, and the employers of the Bluegrass Chapter of Kentucky FAME, including Toyota, Heartland Automation, Bullard, and nine others.

The FAME Career Pathway uniquely provides a high-demand career pathway from pre-kindergarten to master’s degrees by partnering with Project Lead the Way (PLTW) for high-quality STEM education, innovative school districts and community colleges, Northwood University and FAME employers across the nation. The groups work together to establish a pathway with classes and students at every grade level in all institutions.

“Northwood University is both a key partner in developing a career pathway of this scope, and the best partner for us given its longstanding leadership in the automotive industry and willingness to be innovative with degree programs. We hope to use this model to quickly scale this pathway option across North America to our other FAME locations,” said Dennis Dio Parker, developer of the FAME Career Pathway.

Northwood University is an education partner offering Advanced Manufacturing Business, a seamless pathway to earn a bachelor’s degree designed for all graduates of the award-winning Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program. Northwood also offers a Bachelor of Science in Applied Management program, which is open and available to all technical students and community college transfers across the nation.

The AMB pathway provides full articulation of college credits earned from all community college AMT programs. The design of the AMB pathway allows students the opportunity to work full time to continue developing technical skills while they are learning business, operations and leadership skills to be the world’s best technicians today and the future leaders of organizations tomorrow.

“Simply put, seamless credit transfer options for technical students—such as those Northwood provides—is another example of how business and educators can innovatively work together to make significant impact on employee development and engagement,” Dio Parker said. “The very unique business degree with a technical foundation, another first-of-its-kind, we believe, that Northwood developed is only one of many breakthroughs that this school has contributed to FAME programs and its pathway. It illustrates the power of partnerships.”

Northwood provides specialized onsite and online courses to accommodate various shift schedules at FAME partner organizations. Most courses are condensed and offered in an accelerated eight-week format. Additionally, Northwood provides tuition reductions for AMT graduates and FAME partner students. Qualified Northwood students can also petition for college credit for previous work and life experiences through the Prior Learning Assessment process.

“Northwood is proud to be the first university to be part of this innovative, best-practice activity, and is experienced at partnering with organizations and tailoring our programs to meet the needs of AMT graduates and FAME companies across the nation,” said James Croan, Northwood University’s Director of Operations and Corporate Relations. “We are all working towards a common goal of developing a seamless, high caliber, talented workforce.”

Upon completion of the bachelor’s degree program, students can also earn graduate degrees from Northwood, including a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership online, or a Master of Business Administration. Transition from bachelor’s to master’s is seamless, and includes the same benefits to make completion easier for working adults.

“We look forward to Northwood’s continued involvement with the FAME Career Pathway as this pathway is an effective model for closing the skills gap of specific occupational and industry needs,” said Croan.

For more information about Northwood University and the AMB pathway, contact James Croan at or call 502.261.1977.

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