Ivanka Trump joins officials at Alabama robotics facility to unveil FAME training program expansion

Ivanka Trump joins officials at Alabama robotics facility to unveil FAME training program expansion
Adviser to the President Ivanka Trump and Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, right, tour the Alabama Robotics Technology Park. Trump participated in an announcement that the FAME worker training program will be expanding. (contributed)

Ivanka Trump, adviser to the president, joined leaders of Toyota Motor North America and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) at the Alabama Robotics Technology Park to announce an expansion of a program to develop skilled workers.

At an event held inside Alabama’s unique robotics training facility, officials announced that the operation of Toyota’s Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program will transition to The Manufacturing Institute, a NAM partner.

“FAME has set the standard for industry-driven apprenticeships, and by taking it nationwide, we will open the door to high-paying manufacturing jobs for Americans across the country,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, who also serves as chairman of the board of The Manufacturing Institute (MI).

FAME is an employer collaborative that consists of a two-year industrial degree known as the Advanced Manufacturing Technician program. AMT trains students of all ages and backgrounds to longtime manufacturing employees wanting to advance their careers.

The program focuses on teaching technical qualifications in advanced manufacturing, as well as helping students develop professional skills and a deeper understanding of the manufacturing industry.

It will serve as a model for apprenticeship education in manufacturing and will bolster the NAM and MI’s newly announced “Creators Wanted Fund,” an industry-driven campaign to inspire and drive more Americans to pursue careers in modern manufacturing.

Ivanka Trump exchanges greetings at the Alabama Robotics Technology Park. (contributed)

Creating pathways

Ivanka Trump lauded the program as an example of public-private partnerships that will boost the administration’s effort to create pathways for all Americans and ensure our competitive edge.

“The administration is committed to ensuring inclusive growth and opportunity in our booming economy by creating pathways for all Americans, regardless of age or background, to acquire the skills needed to secure and retain high-paying jobs,” she said.

“I applaud Toyota Motor North America and The Manufacturing Institute for expanding the FAME program, which will build upon the economic successes we’ve had in the manufacturing industry.”

The Alabama Robotics Technology Park (RTP) – the backdrop for the announcement — is an Alabama Department of Commerce/AIDT training facility. Consisting of three distinct buildings, the $80 million park is a one-of-a-kind destination for advanced robotics training in Alabama and the United States.

“The RPT was a perfect setting for the announcement that FAME, a program that is already making a difference in Alabama, will expand to meet the needs of American manufacturers,” said Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield.

“Like FAME, Robotics Technology Park represents the kind of forward thinking in workforce development that gets results,” he said.

Ivanka Trump attends the announcement of the expansion of Toyota’s Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program during an event at Alabama Robotics Technology Park. (contribution)

Program growth

Chris Nielsen, an executive vice president at Toyota Motor North America, said FAME started as a pilot program in 2010 at the automaker’s Kentucky plant. Today, the program has nearly 400 partner companies in 13 states.

“We believe that when good ideas are shared, great things can happen. We’re excited to see the Toyota training model expanded nationwide and the top talent it will produce,” Nielsen said.

Toyota has a major – and growing – presence in Alabama.

Earlier this year, Toyota announced a $288 million expansion at its Huntsville engine plant, where it will add two new production lines and 450 workers. The project will push the investment in the plant to $1.2 billion and its workforce to more than 1,800.

Meanwhile, just miles away, construction on the $1.6 billion Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA joint venture auto assembly plant is well under way. After production begins in 2021, the facility will have up to 4,000 workers.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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