The Clark State Community College Precision Machining Technology (PMT) Training program has expanded beyond the classroom to offer students a paid work experience opportunity with local employers.
“Local manufacturers were not satisfied with the quality of the entry-level workers they were getting through their normal recruitment processes. This program creates a pipeline for entry-level machinists and machine operators,” said Duane Hodge, director, workforce development and sales for Clark State.
Classes for the ten-week PMT program are held at the Opportunities for Individual Change (OIC) of Clark County in Springfield. After the student completes four weeks of training, they have the chance to hone their skills on a job site. “They go to work for these companies for four hours a day, five days a week,” said Hodge. “Employers get an employee trained to their specifications and a chance to evaluate their professional skills.”
Maranda Camden, placement and adult training coordinator with OIC of Clark County said a vast amount of information related to machining and manufacturing is taught in a short amount of time. “The training is fast paced and very engaging,” she said. “The PMT program is based on the NIMS curriculum. Students work in a machining lab and get hands-on experience with manual machines and blue print reading.”
Camden said she is excited the PMT students now have the work experience opportunity. “Along with the classroom time, I focus on pre-employment and character-building skills,” said Camden. “Being a competitive and valuable employee requires many factors, not just hard skills. We also assist with resume building, job searching and job placement.”
Student Lori Myers is from Springfield. She enrolled in the PMT training in September of 2015 hoping to build a career in a trade that offers job security and unlimited advancements. “I had no knowledge of the industry, and as the only female, was a little concerned I would not succeed,” she said. “My class instructor made me feel very welcome, and with all of his knowledge and life experience, I feel very comfortable continuing on my path with PMT.”
Myers said the class and curriculum are easy to understand, and she has had help from Camden with potential job opportunities. Myers is confident she will be able to secure a career following her graduation from Clark State. “This time last year I had no idea where my future was headed,” she said. “I was given the opportunity to make positive changes by working hard, showing passion and commitment to change my future.”
Camden said manufacturing is a booming industry, but employers are struggling to find a skilled workforce. “We immediately recognized that it was crucial for employers to be directly involved,” she said. “We are constantly talking with local employers to ensure the training is on par with their current manufacturing and hiring needs.”
Students can apply to the PMT program through Clark State or OIC. “There is obviously a cost to the program,” said Camden. “But we do everything in our power to ensure our students do not acquire debt.”
PMT graduates receive a certificate from Clark State, earn their OSHA 10 certification, garner an introduction to CNC and also have the opportunity to earn additional credentials through ToolingU.
“This program was a blessing,” said JoVaughn Stevens of Springfield. “I was at a point in my life where I didn’t know what was next. Now I’m learning a trade that’s going to be with me for life. I was placed in a great job here in town, and I’m learning new things every day. This program is a win-win!”