For three sisters in Kentucky, manufacturing is a family affair.
Emily Bastin, Heather Craven and Hannah Geneve are all working in maintenance roles supporting various shops at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. Growing up, they had disparate interests—while Emily had taken robotics classes in middle school and Heather had always enjoyed working with her hands, Hannah switched to manufacturing only after working in customer service. Today, all three of them are building careers in manufacturing together.
How they got here: Emily, Heather and Hannah found their way into manufacturing through FAME—an initiative for current and aspiring manufacturing workers that was founded by Toyota in 2010 and is operated today by the Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s workforce development and education affiliate.
- The FAME Advanced Manufacturing Technician program offers on-the-job training and classroom education that combine technical training with professional practices and lean learnings to create world-class technicians. The two-year AMT program leads to an associate degree and the FAME certificate.
- “They came to my school—the AMT program—and I was like, you know, let’s give this a shot,” said Emily. “I didn’t realize I would have that kind of potential. This was cool stuff.”
The family business: Emily was the first of the three sisters to graduate from FAME, and she has been helping her sisters as they work their way through the program. Both Hannah and Heather are enrolled in FAME while working at Toyota, and they expect to graduate in May 2025.
- “We’re all working in the same plant, and if they need anything from me, I’m there to be supportive,” said Emily.
- “With schoolwork, I try to help Heather, and she tries to help me,” said Hannah. “We all help where we can.”
- “It’s nice to have that sister love to lean on,” said Heather. “They understand the frustration of school and work, and it’s been a pleasure to work with them.”
Opportunities abound: The sisters advise others who might not have considered manufacturing as a career—especially women—to give the industry a second look, emphasizing the sheer diversity of jobs on offer.
- “Working in manufacturing doesn’t necessarily mean you’re working on a factory floor,” said Hannah. “There’s an administrative side, an HR side—there’s a lot more to manufacturing than people expect.”
- “I do see us being examples for women who might not normally see themselves in the field,” said Heather. “You want to see women come in and say, hey, I did it, and you can, too. It’s nice to see yourself reflected back.”
The community: It’s not just their family ties that keep the sisters in manufacturing. All three sisters have high praise for their fellow students and colleagues, and for the supportive culture they’ve encountered at Toyota.
- “The mentorship I got helped me gain my confidence while I was learning,” said Emily. “And even now, the teamwork that goes into everything, every day—it’s been a nice surprise.”
- “Everyone has been super nice, super helpful and super welcoming,” said Hannah. “When you start out, it can seem intimidating, but everyone’s willing to help you out. They really want you to succeed.”
The last word: “It’s nice to feel like you’re a part of that network—that family,” said Heather.
The MI’s 35×30 campaign aims to increase the share of women in manufacturing to 35% by 2030 and spotlights outstanding women in the industry like these sisters. To learn more about Women MAKE America and explore its many opportunities, including its new mentorship program, go here.
The Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education provides global-best workforce development through strong technical training, integration of manufacturing core competencies, intensive professional practices and intentional hands-on experience to build the future of the modern manufacturing industry. Learn more here.