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Gadsden State’s FAME Program signs 38

Oxford, Ala. – The sixth cohort for Gadsden State Community College’s FAME Chapter signed with their respective companies during a signing ceremony May 6 at the Oxford Civic Center

FAME, or the Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education, is an apprenticeship-style program that allows students to attend class two days a week and work three days a week in a local advanced manufacturing facility.

“FAME students have the unique opportunity to work and get experience while receiving instruction,” said Alan Smith, dean of Workforce Development at Gadsden State. “Today, you are signing your golden ticket. If you do everything asked of you by the College and by your employer, you will graduate and immediately start a career making a lot of money.”

This year, two classes – known as FAME South and FAME North – were selected. The South students will attend class on the Ayers Campus while the North students be at the East Broad Campus in the Advanced Manufacturing Center, which is slated to open with a ribbon cutting on June 12.

“We are making history today,” Smith said. “We are one of the only colleges in the U.S. to have two locations for the FAME program. When we asked if we could do this, FAME leadership didn’t hesitate because they recognize our history of success at Gadsden State.”

Smith said 166 people applied for the new cohort of students with only 34 being selected for employment at one of 12 industry partners. Four students were selected as alternates with anticipation that a job will become available.

“This is one of the biggest nights at Gadsden State,” he said to an audience of students and their supporters. “It’s time for you all to celebrate. We have many opportunities for these students. I appreciate the commitment you have shown to get your student here today.”

Smith said the Gadsden State FAME Chapter is considered one of the best in the state in large part due to the partnership with East AlabamaWorks, an organization that provides solutions for closing the skills gaps and maximizing workforce efforts to ensure alignment of resources. The partnership was formed from the beginning of the program in 2018.

“I remember when we first started with just 13 students and a handful of people attending signing day,” said Lisa Morales, director of East AlabamaWorks. “Now, we are outgrowing the Oxford Civic Center. I’m so glad to see everyone here. Our industry partners stretch across East Alabama, from Fort Payne to Ashland to everywhere in between.”

After five semesters of classroom education and on-the-job training, graduates of the FAME program will receive an Associate in Applied Science in Industrial Automation, a FAME advanced manufacturing technician credential and five Lean Manufacturing credentials.

“When you finish this program, you will not just have a job,” said Andy Robertson, workforce development coordinator. “You’re going to have a career.”

To be considered for the FAME program, students must apply and be accepted to Gadsden State, complete a FAME application and write an essay. Qualified applicants then go through an interview process with a panel comprised of 12-15 industry partners. Program participants are then selected by the industry partners in a draft-style process.

The following students have been selected to participate in the FAME program and work for one of 12 world-class industry partners:


Aiden Stewart of Ashland

Eastman Chemical

Will Johnson of Fruithurst

General Dynamics OTS

Blaze Armstrong of Gadsden

GH Metal Solutions

Aaron Wright of Valley Head

Honda of Alabama

Bryce Anderson of Southside

Michael Anderson of Attalla

William Anderson of Attalla

Braxton Bussie of Talladega

Cayson Hardy of Glencoe

Amari Johnson of Anniston

Koch Foods – Ashland Plant

Wilfido Mejia-Gonzalez of Delta

Tyler Wardlaw of Ranburne

Koch Foods – Collinsville Plant

Andres Garcia of Fort Payne

Trenton Gilley of Boaz

Jose Ponce of Boaz

Brandon Simonetti of Boaz

Koch Foods – Gadsden Plant

Alex Bamaca of Gadsden

Brandon Bamaca of Gadsden

Landon Robinson of Altoona


Zachary Blohm of Oxford

Nickalous Bryant of Sylacauga

Brody Burnett of Southside

Landon Davenport of Gadsden

Louis Holbrook of Heflin

Tony Landers of Sylacauga

Will Skinner of Ranburne

Landon Waller of Lincoln

Legacy Cabinets

Zachary Andrews of Jacksonville

Keegan Huff of Jacksonville

M & H Valve

Christopher Alvarez of Oxford

Jackson Long of Gadsden

Jordan Veal of Gadsden

Tyler Union

Douglas Baker of Anniston

Julius Scott of Goodwater


Kenneth Price Jr. of Anniston

Curtis Smith of Cedar Bluff

Mckenzie Tovar of Talladega

Ayden Richards of Fruithurst

For more information about the FAME program, visit

See an album of photos from the event:

2024 FAME Signing Day