Terry McKelvey has always liked making things. Born in Huntsville, Alabama, he worked two part-time jobs in high school that showed him what modern manufacturing looked like. And when FAME program leaders visited the facility where he worked, he discovered the path to a full-time, long-term career.
The FAME program trains students of all ages and backgrounds, from recent high school graduates to experienced manufacturing employees looking to advance their careers. FAME is an earn-and-learn apprenticeship where students spend time in the classroom and on the shop floor. After two years, students graduate with an Advanced Manufacturing Technician degree and no student debt. Originally developed and refined by Toyota, stewardship of the FAME program has recently transitioned to The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers. FAME chapters are currently operating in 13 states with nearly 400 partner companies, and the Manufacturing Institute intends to further expand the program nationwide.
Today, McKelvey is in his fourth semester of the FAME program at Toyota’s Huntsville facility. He particularly enjoys the hands-on aspect of his work, and has appreciated the chance to gain insights from a wide range of mentors and coworkers, including former FAME program participants.
“As part of the program, we’re able to work with new mentors and new groups every semester—and that gives me the opportunity to learn so much more,” said McKelvey. “Hearing from a whole bunch of people instead of just one person in particular helps me branch out and understand different concepts.”
Those different concepts have expanded McKelvey’s appreciation for the manufacturing industry, offering him a broader view of the different types of available roles.
“Being in this program has showed me that there’s so much more to manufacturing,” said McKelvey. “It’s not just the production aspect. It’s not just shipping and handling. It gets much more in-depth. You can understand the machines you work with on an entirely different level –and you see new things every day.”
McKelvey encourages people considering the FAME program to embrace the new challenges and experiences the program exposes students to. He says that the experience pays off, and that program participants can count on their colleagues for support. In fact, the tight-knit community he has created with other people in his program have been one of the highlights for McKelvey.
“We’re pretty close,” said McKelvey. “We’re like a family. We help each other out. If someone misses a day, we’ll check in on them. We look out for each other.”
What sets FAME apart from other apprenticeship programs is that it teaches the skills and the culture of manufacturing. Students graduate with the tools to not just fill open jobs—but to be successful leaders in the manufacturing industry.
Learn more about the Manufacturing Institute’s FAME apprenticeship program.
Manufacturing businesses have long been proponents of equality in the workplace. As legislation to codify protections for LGBT individuals passes through the House of Representatives, the National Association of Manufacturers joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and other members of the business community in advocating its passage, forging coalitions and providing congressional testimony.
Introduced with bipartisan support in the U.S. House and Senate in March, the Equality Act includes federal protections for individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity under the existing framework of the Civil Rights Act, which already provides protection against discrimination on the basis of religion, national origin, race, color or sex. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that no person can face legal discrimination based on their gender or sexual orientation, setting a clear federal standard to enable individuals to succeed based on their abilities and qualifications to perform a job.
“Employers understand the importance of creating an environment in which the very best people can succeed based on merit,” Patrick Hedren, NAM vice president, labor, legal and regulatory policy, said. “At the same time, manufacturers know that discrimination in any form is antithetical to the values that we work to uphold every day: equality of opportunity, individual liberty, free enterprise and competitiveness.”
In March, more than 40 other industry associations rallied to support the Equality Act, providing an important boost for the groundbreaking legislation. In the weeks since, manufacturing representatives have testified before the House Education and Labor Committee and signed a coalition letter to the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services calling for the Act’s passage. As Congress considers the way forward, manufacturers have made clear that they intend to advocate forcefully on behalf of the legislation and uphold their commitment to workers of every gender identity and sexual orientation.
“The Equality Act creates a clear federal standard that matches the sentiments manufacturers already share: gender identity and sexual orientation have no impact on an employee’s abilities and discrimination is not welcome on the manufacturing floor,” Hedren said. “We look forward to working with Congress as this important legislation moves ahead.”
Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement after the Department of Labor (DOL) rescinded the 2016 Persuader Rule:
Manufacturers have fought for this victory for many years in the courts, in Congress and with two administrations, using the full weight of our policy, government relations and legal teams, said Timmons. The NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action was able to halt the rule in court in 2016.And in 2017, the Trump administration, as part of its broader regulatory relief agenda, thankfully began the process of unwinding the rule. This overreaching rule threatened to impose serious burdens on manufacturers and upend employee–employer communications. Now manufacturers are relieved that this threat to workplace communications is finally and officially off the books. Commonsense steps like this to rein in onerous regulations are a major reason why manufacturers are reporting record-high business optimism.
The Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA) is the leading voice of manufacturers in the courts and engages in a range of activities, including direct party litigation and operating a robust amicus program, as well as educating manufacturers about emerging legal trends. The MCLA is led by NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly and NAM Vice President of Litigation and Deputy General Counsel Peter Tolsdorf. More information on the MCLA can be found here.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.