Akron's CNC Training Center Builds Workforce's Skills
Lee Combs was tired of laying off single-skilled workers and struggling to find multi-skilled ones, so the owner of SC Manufacturing decided to utilize floor space in his plant to start a training school.
Today, Akron CNC Training Center helps downsized machinists in the metal fabrication industry gain the math, problem-solving and computer skills to run state-of-the-art machinery. The school is more affordable than most trade schools, and 70 of the students who finished the training program in the first year have already been hired — including a few of the workers that Combs laid off.
“This state-registered center has a curriculum that takes only four months to complete and only costs a student $4,100,” says Laurie Norval, the center's director and Combs' daughter. “A lot of unemployed or low-income students can get tuition help, plus we offer a payment plan. But the bottom line is that $4,100 is very reasonable to learn excellent skills in modern machinery.”
Students learn about CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines, which are rapidly replacing older production lathes.
“It’s like when desktop computers replaced typewriters. CNC machines are cleaner, safer and more efficient, but technical skills are needed to program the computers that run the machines,” Norval says. “That’s where Akron CNC Training Center comes in.”
Norval adds that students who complete the four-month program find jobs quickly.
“Typical starting pay is $12 to $14 an hour, and many workers quickly get to $20 to $25 an hour,” she says. “Between Akron and Cleveland, there are about 700 machine shops, with Cleveland being second in the nation for machining jobs while Akron is ranked seventh. Manufacturing is about to make a big comeback as the recession eases.”