Updated: Dec 16, 2021
The Indiana Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (INFAME) hosted an informational meeting in East Chicago on Friday, December 10, for interested manufacturers to hear about INFAME’s growth in Indiana and the potential for creating an INFAME chapter in Northwest Indiana. Currently, there are four chapters in Indiana, two in central Indiana, and northeast and southwest region chapters. Manufacturers that participate in a INFAME chapter sponsor students in a work-and-learn program that combines cutting edge technological training that earns a 2-year associates degree with global best on-the-job training.
At the event on Dec. 10, attendees heard from representatives of INFAME and FAME-USA, the national organization coordinating FAME chapters across the country, on the benefits of the program, how businesses work together and the training itself, which develops the Advanced Manufacturing Technician.
Northwest Indiana is primed for this program, with quality higher education partners and facilities, as well as a robust manufacturing economy where every employer is looking to expand and upgrade their workforce. INFAME chapters are operated by and for manufacturing companies in each region to develop the next generation of production leaders and build a structure of cooperation between businesses, high schools, and community colleges. The foundation of a successful chapter is an engaged group of employers that will commit the time to develop the program and recruit and mentor students.
Building a chapter takes time. Striking a deal with a higher education partner, gearing up a recruiting program, and developing connections with the schools and career and tech educators are big tasks before a single student is hired by a company or attends a class.
As manufacturers in Northwest Indiana learn about INFAME and the potential to grow their workforce – particularly the quality of workers – they will need to engage with each other and commit to sponsoring students. Once there is enough interest, a chapter can be started. Hopefully that will happen in the next year and manufacturers in Northwest Indiana will be able to see the benefits of FAME and Advanced Manufacturing Technicians that other regions in Indiana and around the country are already experiencing.