From the first moment Caleb Cleveland visited Electrolux Group—a home products and appliance manufacturer in Springfield, Tennessee—he knew it was the place for him.
“I knew I wanted to work with my hands,” said Cleveland. “I didn’t want to be sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen. I loved this place from day one.”
Cleveland found Electrolux Group through the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education, or FAME, which his guidance counselor recommended to him. Today, both he and his employer are thrilled he’s taking part.
The program: Founded in 2010 by Toyota and operated today by the Manufacturing Institute, FAME aims to help students become highly skilled, sought-after workers capable of meeting the unique needs and challenges of the modern manufacturing sector.
- It provides current and aspiring workers with on-the-job training and classroom education, leading to an associate degree and the FAME advanced manufacturing technician certificate.
- “This program is one of a kind,” said Cleveland. “I’m actually getting paid to go to school. I’m getting the classroom and training classes here at Electrolux Group. I’m learning from people at school and from experts here.”
The benefits: At a time when manufacturers are struggling with record high job openings and a lack of skilled workers, FAME is helping to bring in a new generation of employees.
- Cleveland will be the Electrolux Group’s first graduate of the program when he completes it in May 2024, and the company sees his success as both a point of pride and an investment in the future of manufacturing.
- “We are committed to continuous upskilling of our current workforce and this is a strong pipeline for new talent with digital skills,” said Electrolux Group Senior Manager of Learning Dan Caldwell. “Part of our strategy is to partner with the FAME program so we can not only bring in Caleb with his classroom knowledge, but also help him to learn and grow.”
Changing minds: FAME is also helping to improve perceptions of the manufacturing industry among young people.
- “In the past, manufacturing has had a dark and gloomy reputation, and we are changing that perspective,” said Electrolux Technical Trainer Eric Drake. “We want up-and-coming talent to know that there are people in manufacturing who care about their future and want them to succeed. We’ll provide the stepping stones for their journey.”
Off to a great start: According to Caldwell and Drake, Cleveland has been an enormous asset for the company already.
- By the end of his first semester, he was able to step in and do most of the work of a process technician, filling in at a time when the company was shorthanded.
- “Caleb is doing a knockout job,” said Drake. “Our objective is to make opportunities available for him.” Caldwell added, “We are incredibly proud of Caleb with the initiative he takes.”
The bottom line: “The program has exceeded my expectations,” said Cleveland. “When I first started I was worried about being seen as that intern who sticks to somebody’s hip. But at Electrolux Group, I found my own place.”