At Monday’s board meeting, Texarkana College Trustees received an update from TC’s Dean of Workforce and Community & Business Education, Brandon Washington, about new industrial training opportunities for students to learn skills in machining and metal fabrication. Washington said a grant from the Carl D. Perkins program enabled the college to acquire computer numerical controlled (CNC) machines including two 5-axis vertical mini mills and a lathe which totaled $178,750 for the purchases. “The new equipment provides students an opportunity to learn next-level 3-D printing for metalworking,” said Washington. “Someone who is trained to use these advanced manufacturing tools will have a competitive edge when applying for jobs because this skill is in high demand by employers. These high-tech tools are used to make and recreate parts for industrial machines and several of our local manufacturers are seeking employees ready to operate their CNC equipment.”
Washington said TC’s top priority is to prepare students to enter the workforce with marketable skills that support the training needs of area businesses and industries. “Our industry partners tell us there is a need of skilled machinists to fill vacant positions right here in our region,” said Washington. “We have responded to their concerns and have aligned our curriculum and training exercises to their needs. The workforce data we studied to prepare the grant request showed that approximately two-thirds of the nation’s manufacturers are currently looking to hire skilled CNC machinists. By providing this training at TC, it is a win for job-seekers, incumbent workers, and manufacturers in our area.” Washington said the new equipment is housed in the brand-new Ledwell Workforce Training Center on TC campus and instruction is taught through TC’s Industrial Maintenance program, one of TC’s flagship programs.
“Our new facility is first-class and our lead instructor, Thomas Holt, stays in close contact with our local employers to introduce them to students and match their needs with our students’ skills,” said Washington. Holt said students frequently ask him how to become machinists and now TC can help them achieve their goals. “Having access to a CNC lathe and a 5-axis vertical mini mill for training gives students the skills and versatility to work in many industrial settings,” said Holt. “Students will learn how to enter designs into computer programs that produce blueprints for tools and dies. CNC equipment converts CAD designs into CAM programs that contain instructions for a sequence of cutting-tool operations. Once these programs are developed, CNC machines follow the set of instructions contained in the program to produce the part. Students who train in our program will learn how to operate CNC machines and write CNC programs and will be able to complete either task.”
For more information about TC’s Industrial Maintenance program or to enroll for upcoming semesters, visit here or call 903-823-3012 to visit with an advisor.