Jason Shaw, of Walker, is a mechanic by trade, but in January, he enrolled in a fast-track entry-level machinist course at Baton Rouge Community College in Jackson.
The class is providing Shaw and other participants with mechanical lathe and mill training through 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.
“This class is perfect for me because I can also work part-time,” Shaw says.
He and his classmates have been learning to file, polish, knurl, bore, turn down tapers and cut threads on the lathe machine while on the milling machine, they’ve learned how to index, cut slots and perform pocket and angular milling.
Johnny Arceneaux, administrator of the BRCC Jackson campus, said the course began in January and ends May 11.
“The goal of the class is to enable students to learn machining fundamentals, develop a safety mindset, demonstrate a passion for learning as well as a work ethic that brings each student a sense of pride,” said Arceneaux.
Kenny Collins, a security officer, and Adam Kimble, a mechanic, are both residents of Jackson and say they’re looking forward to working as machinists in the Felicianas or Baton Rouge area after completion of the course, which is 75 percent shop work and 25 percent classroom instruction.
Instructor Marvin Carter starts each day of the course with a focus on safety followed by the introduction of new information and techniques. He works side-by-side with each student in the beginning.
“As the students mature in safety, shop knowledge and experience, Marvin is able to step back so they can develop ownership of their work stations, projects and the shop as a whole,” Arceneaux said. “The students are trained to be machinist professionals.”
Class projects are based on the same type of work done in machine shops in East and West Feliciana parishes and Baton Rouge, and students are responsible for taking a project from blueprint to finished product.
Michael McIntyre, of St. Francisville, recently cut the stock for one of his projects, moving on to a drill press, mill or lathe and began machining the stock.
Ryan Diaz, also of St. Francisville, worked as a paramedic and safety inspector before enrolling in the class. He recently learned how to turn down a piece of stock on a lathe to make a pin for a bushing and pin project.
“I look forward to coming to class each day and making a drawing from a concept and the product from the drawing,” Diaz said. “It feels good holding a finished product in your hands while looking at the blueprint and knowing you created something. It’s really rewarding.”
Arceneaux said BRCC likes to partner with business and industry in the Felicianas and Baton Rouge in order to provide entry-level machinists as well as train a company’s current employees.
“We encourage businesses to reach out to us, as we provide the only machinist class in the area,” added Arceneaux. “Within four months, a student is job ready.”
The next machinist class begins May 16 and ends Aug. 31. Class times are 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (225) 978-0424.