SKY FAME: Creating skilled workers for regional manufacturers

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FRANKLIN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Southcentral Kentucky is rich in educational opportunities. For instance, there are a lot of different career paths you can take at SKYCTC.

In partnership with local businesses, the technical college created the SKY FAME (Southcentral Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) program at the Franklin-Simpson Center. This creates skilled workers for regional manufacturers.

On Tuesday night, they had one of their biggest recruitment sessions yet.

"I get to take the college classes at pretty much a discounted price and at the same time, I get to hold a job at a factory that pays pretty well," said Mackenzie French, student through SKY FAME.

Students must secure their own job with a company before officially accepted into the program.

"We are trying our very best to mimic what it is going to be in the real world," said Dr. James McCaslin, VP of Outreach and Community Development with SKYCTC. "Students come in and they actually work at the sponsoring company three days a week, and then come to school two days a week, for a total of five semesters."

Participants work in the field while earning an associates degree simultaneously.

"We get to work with maintenance guys that have been doing it for 15 20 years, so it really helps a lot ya know being able to work with those guys," said Robert Peglow, student.

Students talked about the benefit of getting to use their hands, minds and ultimately building a better life.

"The biggest benefit for me is the fact that I know I'm going somewhere with my life. The fact that I know I'm going to be able to provide for a family," said Dillion Huffine, student.

"I feel like it's a really big jump start in life because I just went from graduating high school and then in about two months I'm working at a factory, holding a good job," said French.

The first class started in the fall of 2016 and will graduate this May.

"When they graduate they have 18 months of work experience and they are highly skilled multi skilled maintenance technicians that can work in any of the industries in South central Kentucky," explained Dr. McCaslin.

Tuesday's recruitment session brought out over 40 prospected students.

"There is a significant need for talent particularly in Southcentral Kentucky," explained Dr. McCaslin.

While there, prospected students met current students, employers and educated themselves on the success that's revolved around the SKY FAME program.

"This is one of the ways that we're able to make sure that we are training individuals who will be our workforce of tomorrow," said
Dr. McCaslin.

"Being happy in what I do is the biggest thing for me and this is what I'm happy doing," said Huffine.

Now what's unique about this program is that these employers are with these students from beginning to end. That not only speaks to the strong partnership, but also the fact that it helps these students find job placements easily after graduation.

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