TANNER — On Tuesday, Toyota Motor North America and The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, made it official and announced their partnership for an apprenticeship program to improve manufacturing workforce skills.
The announcement made at the Alabama Robotics Technology Park between Decatur and Athens in Limestone County included an appearance by first daughter Ivanka Trump, who also serves as an advisor to President Donald Trump.
The new partnership will transition operation and stewardship of the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program, created by Toyota to develop skilled workers, to the Manufacturing Institute according to a press release that accompanied the announcement.
“Toyota did something exceptional in creating a pilot that was excellent to train the next generation of high-tech manufacturers,” Ivanka Trump said of the announcement in remarks during a round table discussion. “It developed a life of its own and today, it’s celebrating the Manufacturing Institute coming in and taking best in class practices from the private sector and scaling back opportunities so many, many more Americans can experience this pathway and acquire the skills through this great program.”
FAME is an employer collaborative that consists of a two-year industrial degree known as the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program. The program trains students interested in transitioning into manufacturing, to longtime manufacturing employees wanting to advance their career, regardless of age or background.
Trump touted Alabama’s economy but expressed the importance of these programs, given that there are now more job openings than unemployed workers.
“We are very, very passionate about this in the White House,” she said. “We have seen and are seeing right here in Alabama record-low unemployment rates. Alabama just hit a record low of 3.3%. We’re seeing inclusive growth for those who have previously been on the sidelines of our economy are now entering the workforce and securing the skills that they need to not just get a job, but secure a career. And we’re seeing this everywhere we go.”
“With that brings unique challenges from governors to state and local representatives across the nation,” Trump continued. “Here, the number one challenge is a skilled workforce. There are more job vacancies today than there are unemployed Americans, which is creating wage growth, which is creating increased opportunities for those that may have otherwise been overlooked. And it’s creating a condition for just tremendous opportunity for American workers. But it is presenting many challenges.”