A fast-track, entry-level machinist class will begin Jan. 11 at Baton Rouge Community College’s Jackson campus in East Feliciana Parish.

The 16-week class will provide participants with mechanical lathe and mill training and a curriculum that includes blueprint reading, an introduction to machine tools and machine shop mathematics, bench work, drill press, basic lathe and basic mill instruction.

BRCC Workforce Development Director Johnny Arceneaux said businesses are unable to find experienced machinists, but by partnering with BRCC and this class, they’re encouraging the development of students who end up with entry-level technical experience, a good work ethic and the safety and social skills needed to be productive employees.

Enrollment is open to residents throughout the north capital region and businesses that want to enroll their own employees. Financial aid, however, is not available.

Arceneaux said prospective students are required to take reading and math entrance tests and a drug test. Class size is limited to eight students.

“Shop work is project-based, and students will have homework each night in review of the current day’s lessons, as well as in preparation for the next day,” said Arceneaux.

Instructor Marvin Carter has more than 35 years’ experience as a machinist and millwright. He’ll teach class participants how to operate drill presses, mills and lathes, and how to repair and maintain them.

DeWayne Rogers, of Slaughter, who graduated from the class on Nov. 25, was a salesman for a company that supplied products to area machinist shops.

“I realized the world of a salesman was changing. I’m 54 years old and needed to do something different,” said Rogers. “After speaking about the class with Anvil Attachments President Jon Craft, I liked what he had to say. The class was everything he said it would be, but I didn’t believe I could learn so much in such a short a time.”

Jacob Fly was a senior at Centreville Academy in Mississippi this time last year. He completed the machinist class in November and is now working as a machinist millwright at Cajun Valve in Port Allen. Initially, Fly enrolled in the millwright Level 1 night class at the BRCC Jackson site as a senior in high school and is currently enrolled in the millwright Level 2 class.

Wayne Mullenix, of Baton Rouge, another graduate of the class who previously had his own roofing business, said he wanted to make a career change.

“I enjoy roofing, but I’m 53 and thought about becoming a machinist. This class gave me a chance to work part time so I could pay my bills while learning a skill. The instructor is awesome and has become my mentor,” Mullenix said.

Area businesses are finding quality employees and saving money that they would normally spend on the recruiting and hiring processes, Arceneaux explained.

“Students who’ve successfully completed the class are floor ready,” said Arceneaux. “They have a desire to learn, are drug free and have a proven work ethic. Also, businesses that enroll their current employees are experiencing increased productivity and employee retention.”

Daytime classes will be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Students are encouraged to seek part-time employment at industry shops and area businesses while taking the class.

To learn more about enrolling, call Arceneaux at (225) 978-0424 or email arceneauxj@mybrcc.edu.