By Cassidy Collins, K-64 Marketing
How much have you heard about CNC technology or Computer-Integrated Machining? CVCC instructor Steven Rhoads entered the world of machining directly out of high school. He earned his Associates in Mechanical Engineering, and with a solid salary, he decided the machine shop was a great place to work. Now, he runs the CNC Machining lab, located in the center of the Workforce Solutions Complex.
If you’re a CNC student, you know Rhoads is a stickler for notes. Notes on paper, notes in Microsoft Word, notes on the shop floor – always keep your pen and paper handy! Rhoads has kept up with his little spiralbound books since 1988 and, still today, continues to refer to the material he learned on his first shop floor.
He also encourages soft skills in the classroom, which include respect for classmates, communication habits, or being responsible for oneself. Most of all, students can enjoy the course and the work they do. He always tells students to be as good of an employee as they would want to hire (which, honestly, is solid advice for any career).
Machining is the creative outlet of skilled trades. For Rhoads, it’s a fun process. You learn to create something, whether taking a print and discovering how to read it or taking a piece of metal and using the machines to create a very expensive, unique part. Steven suggests anyone interested should give the program a shot – even for a semester or two!
Machining employees are in demand. Companies in Catawba and surrounding counties call Steven directly to ask for students or referrals. The classroom job board has posted over 50 positions, so students can literally choose the jobs they want to apply for. In Rhoad’s words, it is insane how much money a student can make once they graduate with an Associates Degree. He feels this is the greatest part of his job – watching students succeed in their careers.