A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Better Lives are a reality, not just a slogan for Kentucky Community & Technical College graduates

When she graduated from high school, Jamie Lindsey took a job at Delta Faucet in Morgantown. She liked the company and the job so she decided not to go to college.

Several years later, she changed her mind about college. In 2017, Lindsey enrolled in the SKY FAME program and calls the decision life-changing. By her fourth semester in the program, she was promoted to team lead and is now maintenance and safety manager.

SKY FAME is part of the Kentucky Federation for Manufacturing Education (KY FAME), in which colleges and businesses form partnerships to train a pipeline of skilled workers. Students attend classes two days a week and work at the sponsoring company three days a week. In about two years, they earn a degree in advanced manufacturing for little to no cost because most employers cover tuition.

Jamie Lindsey found her Better Life.

The majority of students in FAME programs are hired by the sponsoring company. Those who aren’t, graduate with two years of work experience and a degree, so they are extremely marketable. Kentuckiana Works estimates there are about 2,000 openings in manufacturing across the state.

Because she participated in SKY FAME, Lindsey feels she is a better leader and relates well to her student employees.

“When the students are studying hydraulics and pneumatics in class, I put them on the injection molding side of the facility during their workday, and when the class is studying PLCs (programmable logic controller), I put them over on the assembly side where there is more automation,” she said. “This way, they get experience doing what they are learning.”

Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC) is one of several of the 16 colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) that offers the FAME program.

Additionally, several colleges offer registered apprenticeship programs or other learn-and-earn experiences. KCTCS announced last fall that it will be investing nearly $3 million to increase these programs. Last year, KCTCS also received a $420,000 grant from the American Association of Community Colleges to participate in its Expanding Community College Apprenticeships project.

“Although high school graduates will be part of the target market for this project, emphasis will be placed on recruiting the unemployed, minorities, women, incumbent workers and veterans,” KCTCS President Jay K. Box said. “The goal is to engage at least 200 new apprentices by the end of 2022.”

The 16 colleges of KCTCS are preparing students for the workforce of today and tomorrow and helping them achieve their dreams. Jamie Lindsey now lives in her dream home and said she is able to give back to her loved ones because of the FAME program at SKYCTC. KCTCS is providing better lives for thousands of Kentuckians through this and similar programs.

From Kentucky Community & Technical College System

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