Advanced manufacturing, machining jobs are growing along Gulf Coast

Careers in advanced manufacturing and machining are in high demand along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College Continuing and Professional Development offers courses that lead to Haas Computer Numerical Control mill and lathe certifications and prepare students to meet this demand.

The Gulf Coast Workforce Board has listed machinists and CNC tool operators on its high-skill, high-growth occupations list. High-skill jobs are those that offer the best employment opportunities now and in the immediate future.  

“The future of this industry will continue to be in high demand because of the need for precision products of all shapes and sizes,” said Leslie Clark, CPD faculty. “The need to manufacture or develop individual, custom, or mass-produced parts only happens because of skilled machinists in action.” 

Manual machinists are skilled professionals who set up and operate a variety of machines by hand, such as lathes, mills, and grinders to fabricate, modify, or repair mechanical instruments and equipment.

CNC machines have revolutionized the machining industry. These machines can perform complex machining operations faster than manual machines with greater accuracy and ease. The higher accuracy and precision of CNC machines also produce lower scrap rates and part costs.

Today, the demand for a skilled workforce requires a hybrid set of technology skills, including CNC machine programming and critical knowledge of part-making inside a machine. According to Jerelyn Glenn, director of CPD IT tech and advanced manufacturing, there is value to learning both.

“Our industry-led advanced manufacturing advisory committee highly recommended that we require the manual machining class as a prerequisite to the CNC courses to gain the basic concept of machining to better understand the tasks CNC machines were performing automatically,” Glenn said. “There remains a high need for both.”

Clark, a machinist and millwright with 35 years of experience, notes that to be successful in this industry students should have the ability to “troubleshoot effectively and have knowledge of basic mechanics and confidence in repairing machinery.”

One student who has completed the CNC certification and returned to take more courses is 61-year-old Raymond Cuevas.

“I have always had a love for learning,” Cuevas said. “Working as a mechanic in machine shops, I was curious about getting into the industry, but gaining the knowledge was difficult. I looked for training at other institutions, but many of them didn’t have what I was looking for. I liked that I could get my hands on the machines and see them in person. I don’t think I would get the same education without the face-to-face courses.”

To learn more about advanced manufacturing and machining, visit sanjac.edu/programs-courses/cpd/your-career/manufacturing/advanced-manufacturing-machining.

Financial assistance is available to qualifying students for these classes:

  • Manual Machining
  • CNC Lathe Complete
  • CNC Mill Complete