Archive for the ‘CNC Training’ Category

Bringing Manufacturing JOBS Back to the US

August 21, 2015 Leave a comment


Have you heard all the whoopla about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US?  The real economist say it can’t happen; and I agree with them. Idealistically it sounds great, but fiscally I don’t see how it could ever work (especially in California).    This California EDD Labor Market Report supports my thinking. It says:

“manufacturing sector is expected to lose 40,100 jobs through the projection period. This sector has a long history of declining employment due to increases in automation and outsourcing…”


Manufacturing may surge in the US; but manufacturing JOBS will not.

Have you seen what became of the old NUMMI plant which once was the biggest employer in Alameda county?  It’s now the TESLA plant. It still manufactures automobiles, but it employs minimal human resources.  TESLA employs robotics to do the grunt work of manufacturing vehicles. If your dream job involves building cars, you may want to spend a little more time gaining higher-level math, problem-solving, and computer skills (like coding, computer aided drafting and so forth). Take a look at this video:




Compare what you just saw at TESLA to this short overview of the old NUMMI plant.  There was quite a bit of automation then; but you’ll also see a lot of human talent involved in getting the job done.


This major shift in automobile assembly and the unemployment of more than 5000 people only took 20 years to happen. I remember when the NUMMI plant opened, and I was on the front line helping calm the most frantic dislocated workers through the emotional experience of job loss, financial calamity, and workforce skills deficiency. If your dream job involves building cars, you may want to spend a little more time gaining higher-level math, problem-solving, and computer skills (like coding, computer aided drafting and so forth).

Manufacturing isn’t the only industry that will see many of it’s jobs replaced by robotics. Anywhere it can happen, it will happen.  Consider the self-driving vehicles being tested right now. The long-term plan, as I understand it, is for the transportation industry to replace truck drivers with self-driving big rigs.



The point of my writing this article is this: Right now workforce systems will promote manufacturing careers, and that’s good for now; but for those who choose manufacturing as a career pathway, always remember the future plan is  for  robotics to replace humans. Use this knowledge to your advantage and as a constant motivation not to get comfortable doing the same thing over and over. If you can do it over and over, so can a robot. Diversify your skill-set and invest time in learning innovative, higher-level thinking. See yourself several steps ahead of where the industry is today.


No matter what industry you currently work in, take out a little time to see how things are changing in the manufacturing industry.


National Manufacturing Day is October 2, 2015. So far there are over 600 events nationwide planned for this day.  Go to to find an event near you.



This is Not Your Ole’ School Manufacturing Job – CNC Skills Required!

February 21, 2012 3 comments

I’m hearing lots of chit-chatter about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States so we can get Americans working again. I’m all for it and believe it is the right move to make. However, my friends, let’s not convince ourselves that we’re ready to waltz our way into these positions.

According to information explained in this article [U.S. manufacturing sees shortage of skilled factory workers], the United States has had a shortage of qualified manufacturing workers for quite some time.  You can read the article in its entirety, but I want to highlight a few points from it so you can quickly see the challenges and opportunities facing our workforce.

      • Our current losses have NOT left a surplus of skilled factory workers who have the skills needed for today’s manufacturing careers. On the contrary there are many factory workers who have lost their jobs because their manufacturing skills are out dated.
      • The manufacturing industry does not have a shortage of workers who can run old-fashioned presses and lathes; but it does have a shortage of workers who can handle the new technology of the industry.
      • You can get the CNC skills needed by looking for training  and/or degree programs in machine tool technology from a community college or vocational school. More ROPs should consider offering these courses to high schoolers as well. (see the listing below)
      • Just because the machinist needs to be more skilled does not mean this job is no longer a “shop job”.  Machinists will still work in noisy and somewhat unclean conditions wearing uniforms that get a little dirty, but these blue-collar workers will make approximately $4/hour more than their white-collar counterparts.

In closing, I’d like to take some words straight from the original article’s section called “New Recruiting Tactics”.  It says:

“The shortage has forced firms to adopt new tactics.  To fill slots, a few manufacturers have turned to hiring candidates who are untrained but have the inclination to work with their hands…. ‘We knew that we were not going to find the people with the right skills right off the streets,’ said Mark Pringle, director of operations at the plant. “So we tried to find people with the right aptitudes.’”

So, there you have it; all of you who look forward to the re-birth of manufacturing in the United States, we’ve got our work cut out for us.  My recommendation to anyone remotely interested in getting into manufacturing is this:  Don’t wait for the jobs to come back to your neighborhood before preparing for them.  You are now informed of the challenges and opportunities ahead, so get in school and prepare now.

Here are a few schools and training centers in California that offer CNC coursework.  If you know of any more, please let me know so I can add them to the list. You’ll need to brush up on those math (algebra), reading, and problem-solving skills to survive these courses.

City School/Training Center Website
Anaheim North Orange County ROP
Fresno Fresno City College – CNC Degree
Fullerton Fullerton College
Glendale Glendale Community College – CNC Degree
Hayward Chabot Community College – Certificate in CNC Programming
Los Angeles Los Angeles Trade Technical College – AS in CNC
Modesto, CA Modesto Junior College – Machine & Tool Tech
Norwalk, CA NTMA Training Center
Ontario, CA NTMA Training Center
Reedley, CA Reedley College – Manufacturing Technology Machine Shop
Riverside, CA Masters Vocational College
San Bernardino San Bernardino Valley College
San Jose TTL College
San Jose San Jose City College  – Machine Technology (CNC)
San Jose San Jose State University – Degree in
Santa Ana Santa Ana College – CNC degrees

Before you go, check out this youtube video:

I hope this helps get you moving in the right direction.  Blessings!
~ Michelle Walker-Wade