Huge demand for machinists sparks training programs


A teacher demonstrates how to reshapes a cylinder by removing a thin layer of steel. It's part of the year-long machinist training program at Laney College in Oakland.

Students hope to leave here with the skills needed to get a job at an oil refinery, chemical plant or water district.

"Certainly Tesoro, Shell, Chevron, Pasco, East Bay MUD, other water districts," said Peter Crabtree from Laney College.

Here students can learn how to cut new treads to repair a water valve.

A machinist is to metal what a carpenter is to wood. The industry is concerned because right now there aren't enough trained machinists in the Bay Area. Because of this shortage, until now, companies have had to recruit workers from other companies, sometimes from out of state. However, even that is getting harder to do. Companies are now asking colleges like Laney to train more of them.

"They're getting nervous about the aging workforce and replacing that workforce," said Louis Quindlen from the industrial maintenance program.

Student Manny Colon says it's the right move, at the right time. He said "It's growing, as far as the economy, it's still there and it's strong."

And the pay is good -- between $50,000 and $80,000 a year.

"Well that was a good aspect of it, when I found out about the pay and everything, but it's also the work helps people in ways they don't see every day," said student Malcolm Turner.

"I was looking for something that I could start a career in to take care of me, I have a small son, he's 3-years-old and initially everyone was skeptical," said student Nichelle Rivers.

Laney College is also reaching out to women like Rivers. The head of the program says, in some cases, companies come to the college to hire students before they finish the program.

Classes have just started and there are still openings in the program. If you want to know more about the machinist training program at Laney College, or other career training programs, checkout the following resources.

The industrial Maintenance Training Program at Laney College

For the machinist program at Laney

For other career and technical education programs at Laney

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