Machinists are in demand

ST. CLAIRSVILLE The Belmont Career Center is looking for students to enroll in the Machine Trades program at the school.

Instructor Robert Jackson receives more requests from employers looking to fill job openings than he has students graduating. “Most people don’t realize how solid and profitable machinists’ jobs are,” stated Jackson. “Every product we purchase has directly or indirectly had the involvement of a machinist,” he continued.

Students learn safety and the operation of milling machines, drill presses, grinders and lathes. Students create, to a very high degree of accuracy, machined parts from various materials such as metals and plastics. These machined parts are used as components to create such items as automobiles, airplanes, appliances, computers and medical equipment used in everyday life. Once a student completes the program, he or she is qualified to enter the job market as an apprentice.

“We currently have 80 percent of our students hired on early job placement,” Jackson stated.

“The average age of a machinist in this country is 55,” added Jackson. “That is why we see so many job openings, and why it is important to attract young people to the profession.”

Greg Black, a supervisor in a local machine shop, graduated from the Career Center in 1978 and has spent the past 33 years working in the machining field. “Our industry is always growing and evolving, so we need young people trained in this area,” stated Black. “The Career Center has been a good avenue for young people to transition to the machining field.”

Russell Blake, class of 1988, has also been a machinist since graduation. “My parents could not afford to send me to college, so my father told me it was best if I attended the Career Center,” said Blake. “It was the best decision I ever made.”

Eric Wade, class of 2003, credits his education at the Career Center and the opportunity for early job placement during his senior year. “These are not just jobs, they are careers with wages and benefits comparable to many careers demanding a bachelor’s degree,” Wade expressed.

Enrollment for next school year is taking place right now at the Belmont Career Center. Students and parents who would like to know more about the Machine Trades program may contact Jackson at the school. He can be reached at (740) 695-9130, ext. 124.