Baker College of Cadillac Announces New CNC Program
Teams with Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center
Baker College of Cadillac, in partnership with the Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center (WMCTC), is launching a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) operator certificate program this winter. Classes begin Monday, January 9, at WMCTC.
“We’ve received several requests from representatives at various industrial organizations in the area,” said Kelly Smith, Baker College of Cadillac president. “They’ve indicated a great need for employees trained on advanced CNC equipment. We are delighted to be working with WMCTC to address that issue.”
Shortages have resulted from both the aging of traditional tool and die workers and advances in the technology used to design and manufacture parts. CNC-operated machining tools are used to cut out parts in various materials, from steel to plastic.
As part of the research process, Baker College of Cadillac conducted a survey of industry representatives, which was followed by advisory group meetings hosted by WMCTC. Representatives from area companies, including B&P Manufacturing, Borg-Warner, Reed City Tool, Rexair and other members of the Cadillac Area Manufacturing Association, all confirmed the necessity for trained CNC operators. Five of the companies indicated a need for 10 additional CNC operators.
“Another Baker College campus already offers a CNC program and WMCTC’s machine shop and instructional resources were in place, so when we learned of the shortage in this field, it was quite obvious that we should make this program available as soon as possible,” said Smith.
According to David Cox, WMCTC director, it made perfect sense to augment its programs with a college certificate that offered the potential of dual enrollment at Baker College.
“Our machine trades programs were declining until this year, when we reignited interest by weaving machining curriculum into other technical programs and changing the name to engineering technology,” said Cox. “The new CNC program is an ideal fit. We can now meet the demonstrated needs in this critically important technology for industries throughout our region.”
Keith Merchant, B&P Manufacturing president, said filling CNC operator positions has been challenging for some time.
“It’s an indication of both the staying power of Cadillac industries and advances in technology that are producing shortages in some technical areas,” said Merchant. “We are pleased to see this program moving forward.”
Baker College of Cadillac will accept 10 students for the new CNC operator certificate program this winter. Classes will run two or three evenings per week in the winter, spring and summer quarters. Students may graduate from the program as early as August 2012. All students must also complete a 120-hour internship at area industries before earning the CNC operator certificate.
“We know the jobs are ready and waiting,” said Mark Lagerwey, Baker College of Cadillac dean of computer information systems and technology. “All our students have to do is commit to eight months of training to prepare them for a skilled career and a potentially high-paying position.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNC operators earn on average $16 per hour. The online site PayScale reports hourly CNC operator rates range from $10.09 to $18.88 per hour.