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ANDERSON — Since the city of Anderson started the Anderson Advanced Manufacturing Program, local residents have landed jobs paying more than $900,000 annually.

The job training program started earlier this year and 30 of the 33 people who have gone through it have secured employment with Madison County companies.

The average starting wage for the first group of AAMP graduates was $14.18 per hour and increased to $14.85 for the second graduating class, a five percent increase.

Of those who have found employment, 14 were unemployed at the time and five were working part-time.

“Thirty people employed, 30 lives changed at a cost of $96,000,” Mark Slayton, deputy director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, told members of the city council last Thursday.

Responding to a question by council president Rebecca Crumes, Slayton said the city has made an effort to make sure the classes are comprised equally by gender, race and age.

“The groups are performing better than I hoped,” he said. “The interest from the companies is encouraging.”

The third group graduated from the AAMP on Friday.

Slayton said there were 19 graduates, and job offers will start being received over the next two weeks.

“Almost all will get a job offer,” he said “The beauty of the program is that most will have multiple offerings.”

Slayton said for the first time in decades, Anderson is seeing an employee-driven market with manufacturing companies competing for those who have completed the AAMP program.

The next training class is scheduled to begin on Sept. 3 with many people looking to get into the program.

“There are a lot of people wanting to get into AAMP,” Slayton said. “The graduates from the previous classes are encouraging people to enroll.”

The maximum number in each class is 25.

Slayton said Hy-Pro Filtration and Precision Strip are joining the training program along with NTN Driveshaft, NTK Precision Axle, Red Gold, Barber Manufacturing and Nestle’.

He said what has been encouraging is the quality of the individuals enrolling in AAMP, their dedication and engagement in the job training.

“There is a desire to make a success of their lives and the program,” Slayton said. “The cohorts are finding jobs that are paying a livable wage.”

Slayton said the success of the Anderson program is generating interest from other Indiana cities and throughout the country.

“We’re attracting a great deal of attention,” he said. “Anderson is at the forefront because there is a need across the country for workforce development.”

AAMP was launched on April 1 at Purdue Polytechnic Institute with a 160-hour course over a four-week period. AAMP training slots are paid positions and will pay $1,600 for the entire program.

The city is making available $120,000 from food and beverage tax revenues for the AAMP program.

The Flagship Enterprise Center, JobSource, NTN Drive Shaft, NTK Precision Axle, Red Gold and Sirmax are providing additional funding and support for the program.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.