What is NEINFAME? Five questions for Jeff Hansen
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette - June 13, 2022
Q 1: What is NEIN-FAME?
Northeast Indiana Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education is part of a national program featuring employer-driven chapters across the nation that provides global-best workforce development through technical training. The NEINFAME chapter was formed in 2019, and is based on the FAME USA model.
NEINFAME connects students with employer partners to sponsor their pursuit of a two-year degree; the sponsor companies provide their selected students with mentoring and a paid work-experience. NEINFAME focuses on developing critical professional skills while attending classes and earning a credential with our education partner, Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne.
Sponsor companies of NEINFAME are AMT, Fort Wayne Metals, LH Industries, Micropulse, Steel Dynamics and Zimmer Biomet. The program is open to any graduating high school senior, or anyone interested in a hands-on, manufacturing-based, STEM-related profession.
Q 2: What was the inspiration behind its founding?
In northeastern Indiana, a skills gap exists that needs to be filled. On the employer side, there is limited talent available to fill the growing manufacturing base regionally. Rather than local manufacturers competing for limited talent, we have chosen to collaborate and work together to grow the overall talent base.
Many students are interested in high-tech training but may not be interested in a traditional four-year degree or even be aware of the opportunities that are right here in our community. The NEINFAME program offers a unique opportunity for students to learn team-based, hands-on, manufacturing-related skills and to begin their careers debt-free.
NEINFAME teaches more than just technical skills; the program also puts heavy emphasis on professional skills. These skills include professional attire, punctuality, leadership skills, professional etiquette and safety awareness. NEINFAME’s inspiration lies in cultivating well-rounded professionals to grow our manufacturing talent pool in northeast Indiana.
Q 3: How does the work of NEIN-FAME benefit the region?
It’s a big win in many different areas. First, it benefits local manufacturers and creates opportunities to grow and enhance those businesses. It also connects area students to the benefits provided by an Ivy Tech Fort Wayne credential and creates a seamless path into local manufacturing. This keeps local talent here in northeast Indiana. All of these factors come together to be a big win for our region.
Q 4: What benefits do the sponsor companies get out of their involvement in NEINFAME?
Sponsor companies that have created the NEINFAME chapter joined to create a talent pipeline into their organizations.
By being part of the chapter, sponsor companies receive many additional benefits that are harder to quantify, but certainly benefit their organizations. NEINFAME sponsor companies are able to expand their networking capabilities by working with other member companies. Mentors of students have the opportunity to develop their supervisory skills and draw upon the collective resources of the sponsor companies together with Ivy Tech. Sponsor companies work together to recruit, select, onboard, develop and train students. It’s a rewarding experience for all involved.
Q 5: How can employers or students in the region become part of the chapter?
Students can apply via the NEINFAME website. The application window typically opens in late August and closes on Nov. 1. We are interested in and welcome students of all backgrounds. Students will need a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as a desire to be hands on in a manufacturing environment. Employers interested in participating in the program can learn more on our website at ivytech.edu/fortwayne/fame/index.html.
Editor’s note: Hansen is also vice president of environmental sustainability at Steel Dynamics.