February 27, 2014


Machining Program is State of the Art

The recent announcement by Remington Outdoors that it will locate a manufacturing facility in Huntsville has created an increased interest in careers in machine tool technology, as it has been reported that as many as 800 of these jobs will be for machinists.

Northeast Alabama Community College is one of the educational institutions in the region that provides programs in machine tool technology (MTT). The college’s Industrial Systems Technology Center, which opened in 2010, includes state of the art facilities for machine tool technology, and contains 14 computer stations with computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software, seven CNC simulators, a coordinate measuring machine, a coordinate measuring machine with scanning capabilities, six computer numeric controlled (CNC) lathes and six CNC mills.

“Details on qualifications and the hiring process for the Remington jobs have not been released yet,” stated Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. “But obviously there are going to be even more job opportunities for machinists in our area in the future and we want people to know that we have excellent training available in this field at Northeast.”

Dr. Mike Kennamer, Director of Workforce Development at NACC added: “Our machine tool technology program is set up so that students may design projects using CAM software or scan an existing part into the CAM program, run the program on a simulator to assure that it works, then go into the shop to fabricate the part. The college purchased all new equipment for the program and continues to update it so that students will have every possible advantage in entering the workforce.”

One innovative piece of equipment is a portable coordinate measuring machine with scanning capabilities. Using this piece of equipment, manufactured by Faro, students may scan an existing part into the computer system in three dimensions, make modifications to the part using CAM software, and then build the part using the CNC mills and lathes in the shop.

“The ability to teach students to reverse engineer parts is a real advantage,” stated Will Roberts, MTT instructor at NACC. “Our goal is to prepare them for the workforce,” he continued.

NACC offers the short term certificate in machine tool technology, as well as a certificate and Associate in Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems Technology–Machine Tool option. The short term certificate may be completed in 2 semesters while the certificate and degree take four and five semesters respectively. The AAS degree program includes a required work experience, such as cooperative education or apprenticeship. Federal financial aid, including Pell Grants, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and student loans are available to those who qualify. Kennamer noted that an apprenticeship program in machining is soon to be added to the Northeast curriculum.

To learn more about NACC and the machine tool technology program, visit the college’s website, or call extension 2254. You may also download the college’s free App at the Apple App Store or by going to

MTT student Stacy Wootten (left) inspects a part he produced on a CNC lathe while instructor Will Roberts (right) looks on.