PHONE: 627-4521

DATE: 07-14-04



Haywood Community College machining technology instructors say they cannot fill employers requests for qualified machinists fast enough for the graduates of their program. And according to personnel managers and temporary staffing agency representatives, not enough eligible applicants can be found anywhere. The demand for machinists is a call resounding around the area that is going unanswered.

Tim Lowe of Asheville Staffing said, "There are jobs available in all levels of CNC machining, from entry level to programming. There is currently a need from six or seven companies for at least 10 employees." According to Lowe, these companies prefer people who are pursuing or have completed a machining degree.

Larry Peters, Human Resource Specialist with Arvin Meritor in Fletcher, North Carolina, is also looking for qualified machinists. "Several areas of our plant look for people with machining backgrounds and all these areas are hiring now." Peters said Arvin Meritor is currently trying to fill 12 to 15 positions. While these positions do require two years of experience, Peters said being enrolled in a machining program is the same as gaining hands-on experience.

"There is a strong business forecast for the company for the next few years," Peters explained. "There is an ongoing need for machining workers in the foreseeable future as a result of expansion at the plant."

The same story is also being repeated at Manpower according to Tracy Burrell. "We have been bombarded in the last month with companies needing machinists," Burrell said. "Most of these companies start people out between $12 to $15 an hour."

At Haywood Community College, students enrolled in the machining technology program can find the hands-on training they need to land one of these high demand jobs. Students work on the latest state-of-the-art CNC machine controls, such as Okuma, Fanuc, Mazatrol, Bridgeport, and HAAS. They also learn CADCAM design in a modern computer lab.

"We have an excellent employment rate for our graduates," Bobby Swanger, HCC machining instructor said. "Many students obtain jobs while still enrolled in class."

Gerald Cotton with Olsten staffing in Asheville says his company has been very pleased with the caliber of graduates he has placed in jobs from HCC’s machining program. But according to Cotton, the need and career opportunities for machinists exists now with an especially high demand for CNC machinists in the metal field. "The demand for Western North Carolina is high and demand pool of recruits is low."

Borg Warner Turbo Systems is looking to fill between 25 and 30 positions for CNC machine operators according to Peg Glenn, Human Resources Generalist for the company. Although these positions are second, third, and day and night weekend shifts, starting pay is over $15 an hour with pay raises every six months for 18 months upon favorable evaluation.

"Our growth is due to existing business, as well as secured new business," Glenn said. "We view it as long term, continued growth." Glenn explained that pursuing or completing a machining degree is important to a machinist. "We encourage our existing employees and prospective employees to complete the machining program because it allows them more opportunities to succeed."

Students in the machining technology program at HCC can pursue either an associate degree, diploma, or certificate in day or evening classes. The curriculum is designed to develop skills in the theory and safe use of hand tools, power machinery, computerized equipment, and precision inspection instruments. Students will learn to interpret blueprints, set up manual and CNC machines, perform basic and advanced machining operations, and make decisions to ensure that work quality is maintained.

Fall registration at HCC is Wednesday, August 11 and Thursday, August 12 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. For more information on the machining technology program at HCC or how to apply, please call Student services at 627-4500.