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Gadsden State signs its first class of FAME students

Anniston, Ala. –Gadsden State Community College signed its first class of students participating in a new program known as Alabama Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education or Alabama FAME. Sixteen students participated in the ceremonial signing event that took place Aug. 6 on the Ayers Campus.

“You should be very proud of the students who have committed to the FAME program,” said Dr. Martha Lavender, president of Gadsden State. “We had a competitive selection process for FAME, so every student here earned their way into the program.”

The FAME program is a partnership between Gadsden State, East AlabamaWorks and seven area companies. The program was rolled out on Feb. 20 to career technical directors and high school guidance counselors and career coaches. Gadsden State is one of four community colleges participating in FAME, which was created to fill the need local industry has for multi-skilled workers in advanced manufacturing.

“We have worked very hard putting this program together,” said Tim Green, dean of Technical Education and Workforce Development. “Our team leader, Audrey Webb, lived up to the challenge to start the program this fall semester. When the decision had to be made about which colleges to implement FAME first, they knew they could rely on Gadsden State. If anybody can do it, Gadsden State can do it.”

FAME students spend five semesters going to Gadsden State for 16 hours a week in a two-day period. On the other three days of the week, students work for up to 30 hours at a sponsoring company. The company pays the student a minimum of $12 per hour during the three workdays.

“Today is probably the most important day in my 30-year career,” Green said. “This day signifies that the partnerships between industry and our students are solidified. This program is a great benefit to the sponsoring companies and for the future of our College and our students.”

Companies that have hired the students include Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, which produces the Honda Odyssey, Passport, Pilot and Ridgeline in Lincoln; Bridgewater Interiors, a company that manufactures the complete seat assembly for the Honda Pilot and Passport in Eastaboga; Kronospan, the world’s leading manufacturer of wood-based panels in Eastaboga; General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, an Anniston manufacturer of munitions, artillery projectiles, bomb bodies and force protection products for the U.S. military; Resolute Forest Products, the global leader in the forest products industry in Childersburg; Koller Craft, which provides molded plastic components and automated assembly in Gadsden; and Tape Craft, which manufactures high-quality polypropylene, nylon, polyester and cotton webbing in Oxford.

FAME students

The first class for Gadsden State’s FAME Program include, front from left, Matthew Wright, Savona Garrett, Jayden Nunn, Jalen Green, Bailey Henry, Devon Chambers, Jarred Joiner; back from left, Eric Anderson, Wesley Thornton, Eli Gravitt, Bret James, Cameron McElroy, Houston Stockdale, Christopher Taylor, Taylor Chappell and Blaise Adams.

“We appreciate members of industry who have partnered with Gadsden State by providing a unique educational experience for our students,” Lavender said.

Once the program is completed, the student will receive a FAME business certificate and an Associate in Applied Science in Industrial Automation Technology. Tarina Baldwin Cianflone is the instructor for the program.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn it all – leadership skills, manufacturing skills, professional behaviors,” she said at the signing ceremony. “We are going to help you be successful in our local industry.”

Students who are committed to the FAME program are Matthew Wright, Eric Anderson, Bret James, Cameron McElroy, Eli Gravitt, Taylor Chappell, Houston Stockdale, Devon Chambers, Jalen Green, Jayden Nunn, Christopher Taylor, Blaise Adams, Bailey Henry, Savona Garrett, Wesley Thornton and Jarred Joiner.

For more information about the FAME program, visit