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OCTC’s GO FAME in national report demonstrating earn-and-learn programs has outstanding outcomes

In Education, Local, News by OC Monitor Staff

OWENSBORO, Ky. — The Greater Owensboro Chapter of KY FAME, known as GO FAME, utilizes a earn and learn model which allows industry and higher education partners to provide students with relevant workforce and professional skills, while the student earns a credential providing them with career mobility and progression.

Students attend college classes at Owensboro Community & Technical College two days per week, while working three days per week at their sponsoring company. Students are trained in the classroom with the same cutting-edge technology and equipment they see while working in industry. GO FAME students can earn an Associate in Applied Science degree, with the additional benefit of practical skills and paid work experience.

“This report really reinforces what we already know, that this model works for students and for employers. We hope that this encourages more employers to join the partnership” added Dr. Scott Williams, OCTC President.

Current OCTC student, Rob Jarvis, is thankful for the work-and-learn model of GO FAME. Jarvis explains, “When you take something hands-on and first you read it in a book then you see it on the board and then you go out and see it in the workplace, you are like ‘Oh, that’s really how all that comes together’ that really helps tie it together for me.” While Jarvis identified having to overcome many barriers to be where he is today, he now says proudly, “I used to hate going to work, now I enjoy what I do. It just makes a huge difference in your life.” Jarvis is on track to earn two associate degrees, Electrical Technology and Industrial Maintenance, in May 2021.

In 2017, the GO FAME program was recognized by the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce as the Education and Workforce Development Program of the Year. At this time, GO FAME has 29 companies which sit on its board. This collaboration between OCTC and its local business partners has resulted in 93 total AMT students participating in the program since its inaugural cohort in 2015 (including 14 who will graduate in 2021 and another 18 who will graduate in 2022). The current cohort of students in the program boast a 3.71 cumulative GPA in their coursework.

KY FAME is the statewide umbrella program in which all colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) work with local companies to prepare students for advanced manufacturing careers.

Opportunity America and the Brookings Institution have released a new report on the success of KY FAME, that shows just how well the program is working and shares outcomes for its graduates.

Working with KCTCS, Kentucky Center for Statistics, Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education and program graduates, Opportunity America and Brookings reported the following based on data from 2010-11 through 2016-17:

KY FAME graduates have a higher completion rate than those not in the program. Roughly 80 percent completed KY FAME. Higher completion rates were seen no matter what race or gender the student was.

KY FAME graduates have higher earnings. The one, three and five-year earnings show a significant difference for KY FAME graduates vs. non-FAME graduates. Five years into their careers, FAME graduates are earning nearly $100,000, which is $45,000 more than the non-FAME graduates.

94 percent of graduates said on-the-job training was the most important part of the program. 87 percent said the combination of classroom learning and on-the-job training was most important.

“Today’s manufacturing careers require skills in technology, critical thinking, problem solving and communication,” KCTCS Chancellor Kris Williams said. “Those skills are incorporated into the classroom portion of the FAME program along with the hands-on learning students receive. This is an excellent earn-and-learn program that pays while one learns.”

KY FAME students attend class two days a week at a KCTCS college and apply what they’ve learned three days a week at their job site. They are paid for their work by the sponsoring company, most are hired by the sponsoring company and many employers cover the cost of tuition. Most students graduate with 2,000 hours of work experience for the two-year program.

The program is employer led and employers of all sizes are part of the 11 KY FAME chapters. There are no age restrictions for the program. the online application for the regional GO FAME chapter may be found at the GO EDC website. The GO FAME chapter is the only one in the state that has expanded beyond the manufacturing sector. This chapter has expanded to GO Careers incorporating the Business program options, and GO FEMALES to increase diversity in manufacturing.

According to the Opportunity America/Brookings report: “The message for employers, educators and policymakers: earn-and-learn training works, and the nation should redouble its efforts to take the model to scale. Among the main reasons it is successful: on-the-job experience gives meaning to classroom instruction and helps students get jobs after graduation.”

OCTC’s GO FAME chapter is in need of additional manufacturing partners. For information on how to be part of this unique partnership contact or call 270-686-4423. Students interested in applying for the next GO FAME cohort please contact call 606-278-0209.