Young man working on machining under the watchful eye of his instructor

Train at Blue Ridge for higher paying jobs in Machining

By Michele Handy

Local community members can train right here in Brevard at Blue Ridge Community College’s Transylvania County Campus machining lab for high paying jobs in machining or manufacturing with local and regional employers.

This fall students can begin a two semester, 4 part continuing-education training course called Machining Fundamentals taught on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5-9 by instructor Kevin Spradlin.

Machining Applications 1 and Blueprint Reading are taught in the fall semester. Instructor Spradlin explains, “this course will provide an introduction to a variety of material-working processes that are common in the machining industry. Topics will include safety, process-specific machining equipment, measurement devices, set-up and lay out instruments, and best practices in the shop. The students then manufacture project based assignments on the mills and lathes, reinforcing the skills they have learned.”

“Blueprint Reading is going to cover the basic principles of print reading such as line types, orthographic projections, and dimensioning methods. In this course students will also be introduced to Mastercam software, which is one of the more popular programs used in the machining industry,” Spradlin says.

Spring semester, students will take Introduction to CNC, and Introduction to Metrology. Spradlin states, “it is the next step in learning the technology and skills needed in the industry. CNC is computer numerical control machining, moving beyond the manual mills and lathes and using computers to program the CNC machines. Students will learn about CNC set up, its applications, and write basic programs that they will actually run on the machines. In the Introduction to Metrology class, students learn and practice using more advanced measurement tools and techniques. Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing, or GD& T, are also covered in more detail ”

While taking the courses, students will also have the opportunity to earn an OSHA 10 General Industry and a First Aid/AED/CPR/Bloodborne Pathogen card.

This two semester training provides students with shop experience and relevant, tangible hours working on the machines, educational experience that pays off when entering the workforce.

Future engineers or designers, as well as folks looking to change careers, would also benefit from the Machining Fundamentals courses which offer first hand experience into manufacturing production.

Spradlin explains, “there is always something relevant happening in the machining lab. This course provides students an opportunity every day to actually practice what they have learned. It’s important to me that students leave with tangible, industry-based skills.”

Current machining students Dillon Bowling and Alex Eberhardt appreciate the hand-on experience they are gaining in the lab. Eberhardt says, “this course allows me to work on the machines, cut metal down to size and make the best fitting part that I can.”

Bowling likes Spradlin’s approach to instruction: “for me he always applies the learning concept to real world experience, so I grasp the reason why I would apply this. Also, Mr. Spradlin is really fun to be around.”

Jason Chappell, director of the Henderson and Transylvania County NCWorks Career Center states, “Courses such as the four part Machining Fundamentals course provide hands-on, real world experience in the high demand field of Advanced Manufacturing. Currently, many local and regional companies are hiring now for individuals who have the skills that will be taught in this four part series.”

Chappell further notes, “Individuals have a great opportunity with these classes being taught here locally, and additionally, with various scholarships and grants, may be able to be taken at no cost, depending on eligibility.”

Job applicants who have been through the Blue Ridge Machining Fundamentals courses will stand out when competing for high paying industry positions and will be eligible for better entry-level pay.

Registration is underway for Fall semester at Blue Ridge Community College. For more information about Machining Fundamentals or other programs of study visit or call 828 883-2520.