The Manufacturing Institute Grows FAME’s Technical Training Program

By Michele Nash-Hoff

In late 2019, I interviewed Dennis Dio Parker for an article published in early 2020. At that time, Dennis headed up the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME), founded by Toyota as an outgrowth of training that provided for employees when they built their new manufacturing plant for vehicles in Georgetown, KY in 1987.

I recently reconnected with Dennis and found out the transfer of the program to The Manufacturing Institute had been completed after our interview. He said, “FAME was moved under the leadership of The Manufacturing Institute to gain the infrastructure and network needed to support and grow the program, but Toyota still participates in FAME and uses the Advanced Manufacturing Technician program (AMT) program in its eight manufacturing locations.”

Dennis connected me with Tony Davis, who is now the National Director for FAME USA for The Manufacturing Institute. When I spoke with Tony, he said, “The Manufacturing Institute is the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. The MI grows and supports the manufacturing industry’s skilled workers for the advancement of modern manufacturing. The MI does this through diverse initiatives including FAME. The MI is a separate legal entity from the NAM and is a 501(c)(3) public charity.”

The new website states, “FAME provides global-best workforce development through strong technical training, integration of manufacturing core competencies, intensive professional practices and hands-on experience to build the future of the modern manufacturing industry.”

Tony said, “FAME currently has 37 chapters in the following 13 states:


Tony explained that the chapters denote a collaboration of employers with an Economic Development Corporation or a Chamber of Commerce with a community college or university.  He said, “the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program administered under the FAME model leverages a work/learn framework to weave technical knowledge, professional behaviors, and distinct manufacturing core exercises into a focused co-op experience to build global-best, entry-level, multiskilled technicians.”

He said, “FAME is the premier advanced manufacturing workforce education and development program, helping students become highly skilled, globally competitive, well-rounded and sought-after talent that can meet the unique needs and challenges of today’s modern manufacturing workforce.”

I asked what are the requirements for students, and he said “Candidates for FAME should be career-oriented, academically prepared students seeking rewarding work.  All participants must be high school graduates who are ready to participate in a highly regimented, hands-on programs and are aiming to advance quickly in their career. The program consists of five semesters after which the graduates have a debt-free degree as an Advanced Manufacturing technician.  Every year, FAME graduates transition into well-paying, diverse career pathways in critical disciplines across the manufacturing industry and across the country.”

I told Tony that I have written about how important I believe Lean training is critical to rebuilding American manufacturing and is important to enable American companies to become more competitive in the global marketplace.  I asked Tony if the AMT curriculum incorporates Lean training, and if so, how  does it do it?

Tony answered, “There are five core topics in the five-semester curriculum and each core topic incorporates core aspects of Lean:


  1. Safety culture
  2. Visual Management and 5S (housekeeping)
  3. Lean principles and practices
  4. 8-step problem solving
  5. machine reliability


He added, “In the first semester, students make a personal safety commitment that they must always include when giving their personal introduction.  This is part of the learn and live it model of the program. The program uses a mix of lectures, college-level activities, employer activities, and real, added value solutions in project-based exercises. The program also ties in professional behaviors, such as timeliness, dress code, grooming, posture, and working as a team.”

I mentioned that I had noticed the FAME Live event that was held May 24-25 in Louisville, KY. He said, “This was the first live event since 2018.  It is a day-long learning event in which attendees meet and hear from students, instructors, and graduates, as well as employers and community partners to understand how each stakeholder plays a part in making these programs successful. The day allows interested stakeholders to leave with a strong understanding of the model and with solid action items to help them implement this solution to meet the growing demand for skilled workers.”

I asked Tony if FAME is still partnering with Project Lead the Way (PLTW) that I had mentioned in my previous article.  He replied, “We know the vital importance of a pipeline of preparation into programs like FAME AMT, and continue to encourage local partnerships between chapters and programs in their respective schools systems, programs like Project Lead the Way and FIRST Robotics. Industry tours through broad support of initiatives like MFG Day make a huge difference, too, in the awareness of local students relative to opportunities in manufacturing near them.

And of course, we are always exploring new ways to better attract and engage more diverse audiences into manufacturing, whether into programs like FAME AMT or into other manufacturing roles such engineering, technology, management, etc. The MI continues to be a thought leader around DEI in manufacturing and we carry this effort into our chapter training and communications.”

At the end of my interview, Tony said, “We are always looking for industry partners to help expand manufacturing education opportunities to talent across the country. If you are an employer, business leader, city official or industry association interested in learning about the FAME model, joining a FAME chapter, or starting a new FAME chapter, contact our team at or schedule an informational session.

I thanked Tony for the information he shared with me and told him that the kind of training FAME provides is crucial to achieving one of the goals of Industry Reimagined 2030; that is, adding 5 million to the manufacturing-related, middle-income workforce by 2030 (a 40% increase.) I told him that I hoped FAME will expand to more states in the West in the near future.