NFPA’s FAMTEN Program Builds a Pathway for Students into Fluid Power Careers

FAMTEN in New BerlinThe Fluid Power and Applied Mechatronics Training and Employment Network (FAMTEN) is a new fluid power workforce development pathway that creates strong connections between local technical colleges, industry partners, and high school teachers. NFPA’s first FAMTEN Hub School is Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The pathway covers multiple education levels in the community.

  1. A community-wide Fluid Power Action Challenge event is the first step in the pathway. The Action Challenge serves as an introduction to fluid power and is a competition that challenges middle school students to solve an engineering problem using fluid power. WCTC and Price Engineering host an Action Challenge event every year at WCTC.
  2. The second step in the pathway includes equipping local high schools with fluid power training equipment, which NFPA did in eight high schools in Waukesha county. The high school teachers from these schools were trained over the summer on how to teach students about fluid power with the new equipment. We couldn’t have done this with without the support of NFPA members, Festo and Amatrol. Last week two of these high schools started using the new training platforms in their classes. Teachers can use the platforms in Project Lead the Way classes such as Principles of Engineering, in a Systems & Controls class, or an Engineering & Mechanics class.
  3. Third is the technical school with a validated fluid power curriculum. WCTC already has an outstanding fluid power program, and several NFPA members serve on their advisory board.

Extremely important to all steps in the pathway is the local network of industry partners connecting with teachers and students. FAMTEN would not be successful without industry mentors getting students interested, helping them learn the basics, and eventually recruiting them when they graduate. Many thanks to NFPA members FORCE America, HUSCO, Poclain, Price Engineering, and SunSource for visiting local classrooms, talking to students and teachers about fluid power careers, and establishing a direct connection to their future workforce.

NFPA plans to launch this program in communities around the U.S. where there is a high concentration of NFPA members, and NFPA’s Tech School Education Committee decides where future FAMTEN Hubs should be located. The next Hub School will be Triton College in River Grove, Illinois. Stay tuned as pathway development begins there in 2019.

For more information about FAMTEN or NFPA’s Tech School Education Committee, please contact Lynn Beyer at lbeyer@nfpa.com or (414) 778-3364.

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