Gulf Coast State College establishes FAME chapter in Northwest Florida

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 10:47 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - This spring Bay County will look to expand its manufacturing talents by welcoming a new program to Northwest Florida.

The Bay Economic Development Alliance and Gulf Coast State College are partnering with local manufacturers to provide a program that will grow highly skilled manufactured talent in the area.

The Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education, more commonly referred to as FAME is a national work-study program that develops global entry-level multi-craft maintenance technicians. It is through the collective efforts of multiple community partners including but not limited to Trane Technologies, Gulf Coast State College, Bay EDA, and CareerSource Gulf Coast, the Gulf Coast FAME Chapter is established. The Gulf Coast FAME Chapter strives to ensure that the local industry continues to recruit the talent needed to support operations.

For the Gulf Coast FAME Chapter, founding companies include Trane Technologies, Berg Pipe, Merrick Industries, Eastern Shipbuilding, ACMT, EPS, Maritech Machine, and others. Over time, this program is designed to create a pipeline of broadly trained individuals who can transition to full-time employment upon graduation. For participating companies, this program will become a critical pipeline for attracting skilled talent into their advanced manufacturing operations.

The program recruits students and pairs them with a sponsoring company to complete a two-year apprenticeship program.

“It’s an apprenticeship program, where we will have 15 students that will go through the training program that will be in the workplace for 3 days a week and in training at Gulf Coast State College 2 days a week,” said Bay Economic Development Alliance Vice President Garrett Wright.

Participants in the FAME program can be recent high school graduates, military members transitioning to the workforce, or individuals looking to move into a new career path. The FAME program is designed to give students hands-on experience while also providing formal educational credentials. The program focuses on professional presence skills, lean manufacturing acumen, as well as formal technical capabilities. The starting cohort of students will be recruited throughout Spring 2021 and will begin the FAME program in Fall 2021.

Gulf Coast FAME is currently recruiting manufacturers who are interested in attracting and developing skilled talent into their manufacturing operations and students to participate in the first cohort. Interested manufacturers should reach out to the Bay EDA (Garrett Wright at or Tara Beck at for more information.

Students interested in starting a rewarding manufacturing career should visit to sign-up to receive updates and information. Gulf Coast FAME’s first two student information sessions will be hosted on January 26 at 1:00 p.m. CST and 7:00 p.m. CST. Registration is open to the public and can be found on Facebook @GulfCoastFAME.

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