Updated: Jun 10, 2020
KTECH Graduate, Lexi Lutz, shared her testimony while perched inches away from Ivanka Trump during the first daughter's visit to Alabama Robotics Technology Park Tuesday. During The Manufacturing Institute's roundtable discussion, Trump reiterated what has been the catalyst and mantra for KTECH since its inception; that a high-paying, in-demand manufacturing career doesn't require 4 years, massive debt or for that matter, privilege or means. With Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA investing in a $1.6 billion plant expected to bring more than 4,000 jobs, hiring managers need skilled workers prepared to meet the task at hand.
"There are more job vacancies today than there are unemployed Americans, which is creating wage growth, which is creating increased job opportunities for those who may have otherwise been overlooked and it's creating conditions for just a tremendous opportunity for American workers but it's creating challenges," Trump said.
Just one example of a demographic left out by the societal construct that a 4-year college stint is the sole definition of success for students? How about a young person navigating through the foster care system? KTECH graduate, Lexi Lutz, is the perfect example of an underresourced and untraditional student who took an opportunity to put her manufacturing career on the fast track. Lexi had the opportunity to share about her background and the training that left her poised to become a top recruit for the prestigious Toyota FAME trainee program.
"Back in 2015 I went in to foster care," said Lutz. "Since then my goal has been to break every static placed on a foster child."
Lexi knows the numbers when it comes to higher education and products of the foster system are dismal. 75 to 80 percent of members of the juvenile justice system are foster children. More than half of foster youth don't complete high school and less than 3% of foster children will obtain advanced degrees.
Lexi, who advocates for her fellow foster youth all over the state of Alabama, saw in KTECH an opportunity to shrug off and actively refute societal expectations and statistics.
"I came in contact with a nonprofit organization called Kids to Love in Madison and I took their workforce training program called KTECH, and that's what led me to Toyota and FAME."
Toyota's apprenticeship program – Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) – has transferred operations to the Manufacturing Institute, the education facet of the National Association of Manufacturers.
As part of the FAME program, students attend college while working in their sponsoring Toyota positions. Lexi attends Calhoun Community College in Decatur two days a week and works at the Toyota plant in Huntsville the other three days.
Alabama's potential as a manufacturing juggernaut isn't slowing and the demand for certified workers is unprecedented. KTECH delivers SIEMENS Certified Mechatronics systems assistant program providing training and credentialing in the foundational areas of safety, quality, manufacturing processes and maintenance. Our graduates can expect potential high growth opportunities as well as Associate Degree wage earnings. KTECH offers certifications in Mechatronics, robotics, soldering and Solid Edge. Our next Yaskawa Industrial Robotic Certification course begins November 4 and has limited lab seats remaining. Apply today at goktech.org or call 256-457-0494