The lack of modern manufacturing skills in the United States workforce could result in more than two million unfilled jobs by 2030. With the recent arrivals of companies like Toyota Battery and Boom Supersonic to the Triad, Guilford Technical Community College is moving to help fill that gap.
GTCC leaders recently announced a new program that will provide a select group of roughly 30 students with hundreds of hours of on-the-job experience. They’ll work in paid positions three days a week for one of three partnering manufacturing sponsors and attend GTCC classes.
The Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program was created by Toyota, and later expanded in 2019. The NC FAME First in Flight Chapter at GTCC is the first of its kind in North Carolina.
GTCC Vice President for College Advancement Jan Knox says there are not enough skilled workers for many of the industries that desperately need these employees, and a paradigm shift away from the traditional four-year college track is well underway.
"A lot of folks think, ‘Oh, I don’t want to work in manufacturing,’" says Knox. "But the reality of it is, if you do this two-year program, and you go and work in manufacturing, you’re going to very likely make $60,000 and have the potential to be six figures within five years. Most college graduates with a four-year degree are not going to walk out with those kinds of salaries."
Knox says following their 1,800 hours of on-the-job experience, 85% of graduates are employed with a sponsoring company. An information session about the FAME program will be held next week at GTCC’s Jamestown campus.