BY GERRI HUNT
Rockingham Community College
REIDSVILLE – A machining lab that will enable students to earn high school credits – and tuition-free college credits at the same time – and to finish with a certificate in hand, will open this fall.
High school juniors and seniors can enroll in the program, taught by Rockingham Community College instructors, and pay only for textbooks and student fees. First preference for enrollment is given to students of Reidsville High School, where the lab is located.
The lab was funded with a $200,000 Golden Leaf grant awarded in March 2019. Partners in the project include Rockingham Community College, Rockingham County Schools, the City of Reidsville, the Reidsville Industrial Alliance, the Reidsville Area Foundation, and the Rockingham County Education Foundation. The lab is now furnished with five manual milling machines, five manual lathes, and several smaller support machines.
On April 24, the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges announced to RCC its approval and accreditation of the machining lab. All that is left now is to have a building inspector issue a Certificate of Occupancy, which has been delayed merely because the COVID-19 situation has closed the school and has altered the work schedules of those involved.
Rockingham County Schools continues to enroll students in the machining program. Students will earn 12 semester hours, split between the fall and spring semesters. In the fall, students will have classroom and lab time during their 90-minute first period, five days each week.
“This is an entry-level, basic manual machining course, and is the first stop to a career in machining and manufacturing,” said Kris Brooks, RCC’s dean of Workforce Development. “When they finish, they will have a solid entry-level skillset to get a job, but they can continue their education at RCC. They will earn a Manual Machining Fundamentals Certificate.”
The four classes included in the RHS program, along with their RCC course code, are:
• Blueprint Reading (BPR 111) introduces the basic principles of print reading.
• Industrial Safety (ISC 112) emphasizes the principles of industrial safety and OSHA regulations.
• Introduction to Metrology (MAC 114) introduces the inspection of machine parts and the care and use of a wide variety of precision measuring instruments.
• Machining Technology I (MAC 111) introduces machining operations as they relate to the metalworking industry. Topics include machine shop safety, measuring tools, lathes, drilling machines, saws, milling machines, bench grinders, and layout instruments.
“This program is for males or females; anyone can do it,” said Jennifer Lester, RCC’s director of Career and Technical Education. “Students can earn valuable skills to get a high-skill, high-wage job, or can transfer into the RCC Machining Associate in Applied Science program.”
Brooks stressed that the high school program provides basic skills. “We hope it’s a stepping stone, and students can continue at RCC for more training,” he said. “This is just four of the classes. It’s the shortest offering we’ve ever done to get a certificate.”
The students need just four more credit hours at RCC – which is two courses – to earn a Computer-Machining Fundamentals Certificate.
“Beyond that, they would take a few more classes to get a diploma or Associate Degree in Computer-Integrated Machining (CIM),” Brooks said.
To get the CIM degree, students take classes in Computer-Aided Drafting, Computer-Aided Machining, and Computer Aided Manufacturing.
“Then they’re ready to work as a machining tech or machinist in any area from manufacturing to prototype development to repair and maintenance,” Brooks said.
Students at any of the county’s high schools may apply for admission into the program by contacting their school counselor or career coach.
Gerri Hunt is director of public information at Rockingham Community College. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-342-4261 ext. 2170.