Madison Doyle, story:
Three Edmonson County High School seniors have signed to start their careers after graduating through the Skilled Trades and Engineering Program. Logan Brooks and Noah Parsley have signed to be apprentice maintenance technicians through the FAME program, starting at $19/hr, and will receive their associates degrees after 2 years. Will Edwards has signed to be an electrical apprentice, starting at $14/hr.
Joining the students was special guest Dennis Parker, founder of the FAME program, which is now across 12 states and will shortly be in up to four other countries. Mr. Parker, a 1974 graduate of ECHS, shared his thoughts about the program. "It's so great to be back in Edmonson County, the Parkers have been around this county since 1877 and now to be the founder of this program and have Edmonson County's first two students accepted in it, being here is just special. The idea we had for the FAME program was to have a grow your own program connecting kids from graduation to the workforce. The model of waiting for the students to graduate college wasn't working so we came up with an alternative to connect them earlier."
Both Parsley and Brooks thanked Mr. Shane Wilson, skilled trades and engineering teacher, for helping them find this program. "I'm thankful for this opportunity to go to school and work while gaining on the job experience," said Parsley. "As well as being able to stay in my home town and county to stay a part of the community."
"I want to thank my family and Mr. Wilson for helping me get to this point," said Brooks. "Mr. Wilson has helped me find this program and get the information together to be accepted to it. I look forward to getting through school while starting my career."
Will Edwards also expressed his gratitude for Mr. Wilson. "I am thankful for the opportunity to go work and learn at M&L Electric," he said. "When Mr. Wilson took us for the job fair, I loved their company. I can see myself working there for a long time."
Mr. Wilson said the goal of the skilled trades and engineering program is to provide every student with an academic plan or career path option where they can provide for their future families and hopefully give back to the local community.
"We are proud of these students and believe this is the start of something that will grow and be a huge benefit to families in our county," Wilson said. "Especially to those students that may not pursue year college degrees, but will be getting into skilled trades and other technical areas where a very strong living can be made while also allowing students to continue to live in our county."
Principal Jonathan Williams applauded Superintendent Brian Alexander for bringing these programs into the school system, and Mr. Wilson for leading the program.
"First, I want to thank our board and Mr. Alexander for having the vision to add these programs to our high school for one reason, students and their futures. Second, I want to thank Mr. Wilson for providing the leadership that's been required to get this program started and will be required to grow it from here," Williams said. "The facts are, 75% of our students do not go to college, so, we must make sure they have the skills they need to make a family sustainable wage with skills we teach here. Today was special but it is only a small part of a larger vision we have for our students. I hope our young people get the message that four-year college is not a must to be successful in this world. Thank you to all involved in making this possible."