MUSCLE SHOALS — Nineteen students signed up Thursday to participate in Northwest-Shoals Community College's FAME program beginning this fall.
The Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program is offering certification as an advanced manufacturing technician, which college officials say will put students on the path to careers in various types of industries.
Several of the participants are first-generation college students.
The students signed on with 12 area companies that have partnered with the college – North American Lighting, FreightCar America, Tasus, Pilgrim's, Applied Chemical Technology, G and G Steel, Essity, Southwire, Mid-South/Central Extrusion Die Company, Tri-Cities Manufacturing, Flexco and Forsythe/Long Engineering.
The students will attend classes two full days per week for 16 to 20 hours, while working three days a week for 24 hours at their sponsoring company. Over a two-year period, the students may earn up to $33,500.
John McIntosh, the college's associate dean for Institutional Effectiveness, told the students they are pioneers and are blazing a trail.
"This is the first step of the race," he said. "You have resources and help here and from your sponsoring companies. Take advantage of that help. Finish the race strong."
Jordan Nutt is a 2013 graduate of Muscle Shoals High School. He joined the Air Force after high school and received training in various areas, specializing in the electrician program.
He said the certification that he'll gain in the FAME program will create the diversity in skills he needs.
Nutt will be working with Essity Company. He said he'd love to work as an industrial engineer in the future.
"It's a great opportunity to gain skills and knowledge, and in combination with the training I already have, I'm hoping it will serve me well in my career."
Other participants are Brice Townsend, Aubrey Wylie, Trey Bryd, Isaac Salamanca, Isaac Hulsey, Austin Thompson, Christopher Brown, Preston Hughes, Noah Boggan, Walter Buchanan, Colton Chapman, Carter Azbell, Barry Knight Jr., Lucas Isbell, Donovan Allen, Rebel Staggs, Seth Thompson and Kirkland Danielowicz.