Louisiana Advanced Manufacturing Technician & Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education
Written by Mike Wolff, MEP of Louisiana Director
The Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) and Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) activity within the State of Louisiana dates back to 2014 & 2015. Following strong efforts with an operator apprenticeship program and a logger training program in Central and Northwest Louisiana, local manufacturers, educators and economic developers connected to nationally benchmark work-based learning programs.
After review, the Toyota driven program to train multi-skilled maintenance technicians was identified as a best-in-class program. Dennis Parker, Manager for the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways Development program with Toyota in Georgetown, Kentucky, traveled to Natchitoches in May 2016 to present the AMT program to attendees at the Manufacturing Summit organized by the Natchitoches Community Alliance and held at Northwestern State University that involved manufacturers and supporters from Central Louisiana, Northwest Louisiana and the Natchitoches area. With continued interest, Dennis Parker was invited back to the region in November 2016 and discussed the AMT program at the Education Summit held in Alexandria and coordinated by the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance.
Manufacturers determined they would like to start this program for August, 2017. The original manufacturers engaged with this effort included Alliance Compressors in Natchitoches, Boise-Cascade in Lena, Pilgrims in Natchitoches, RoyOMartin in Chopin, and Stella-Jones in Alexandria. The AMT program in Louisiana was launched through Northwestern State University and Central Louisiana Technical Community College. The students are required to be college ready and apply to NSU (https://www.nsula.edu/futurestudents/how-to-apply/). Once accepted at NSU, interested students apply directly to the LA-FAME AMT program through the Natchitoches Community Alliance website (www.geauxfame.com).
With these completed applications, the manufacturers interview the students and select them into the program where they are also signed up for classes through Central Louisiana Technical Community College – Natchitoches Campus. With this selection, the business agrees to pay a minimum hourly wage, provide work at least on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and provide mentoring and coaching to help connect the class content with the manufacturing setting. The student receives 8+ contact hours of instruction at the CLTCC – Natchitoches Campus in a lock-step, five semesters curriculum over two years. The curriculum consists of 60 hours of instruction from NSU and 20 hours of instruction from CLTCC. Upon completing the course, the students will receive an Associate of Science degree from NSU in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Advanced Manufacturing Technology and a FAME-AMT Certificate from CLTCC.
Along with the technical course content, a key attribute of this program is the professional behavior skill development and manufacturing core competency development. The curriculum and instruction requires professional development through presentation, engaged interaction, punctual on-time requirements and other professional development areas. The development of the manufacturing core competencies is driven by imbedding one of the following five core competencies in each semester:
Semester 1 – Safety Culture
Semester 2 – Workplace Organization
Semester 3 – Lean Manufacturing
Semester 4 – Problem Solving
Semester 5 – Maintenance Reliability
Once students complete one of the core competencies, activities are used in the following semesters to continue to build and grow this core competency with each student. For the August, 2017 class, there was manufacturing interest for 12 – 15 students. Due to the late kick-off for the program in March 2017, the recruiting cycle was greatly shortened with 4 students starting the program. The second student cohort starts in August 2018 and current interest is running much higher. Procter & Gamble in Pineville is the sixth manufacturer to sign on and current manufacturing interest is for 12 – 15 students. With the opportunity to have a class size of 20 students, the class remains open for additional manufacturers to learn more about the program and sign on. In addition, the FAME state umbrella allows for manufacturers in other communities to learn more and see if this work-based learning model will add value to your workforce development. To learn more, please contact Tony Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org; 318-348-1318) or Mike Wolff (email@example.com; 318-581-3594).