These days you don't see many women in male-dominated fields of work, but this provides me with something I love to do, said Courtney Molina, a Flatwoods resident and a Computerized Manufacturing and Machining(CMM) student at ACTC. "Many people just go to school to do something that pays good and they end up hating it. I didn't want to make that mistake.
CMM, theupdated name for Machine Tool Technology, involves using computer (CNC) and manually-operated lathes, drills and other equipment to fabricate parts out of metal and other materials. Graduates work as machinists in machine shops and factories where traditionally there have not been many women.
I often get questions on why I want to work in a men dominated field, she said. As I look at it, men go through nursing school and make great nurses, so I should be able to do something I love as well and be great at it.
Women should not rule out something they are interested in just because its a man's field. I almost made the mistake of letting that determine whether or not I would sign up for the program.
I originally came to ACTC to get my Associates in Arts Degree because I assumed that it would further my job opportunities and then I would continue on to get a Bachelors Degree, said Molina, a Russell High School graduate.
I didnt have the money to go away to college, but as a single mother, I needed to do whatever it took to be able provide for my son. It all started with coming here.
Getting my Associate Degree taught me a lot, but I needed something that I was going to want to do for the rest of my life, she said. I grew up around machinery and always loved the artistic abilities of being able to make something out of metal.
I was curious about CMM, and my advisor set up a time for me to look at the shop and see what they do during class. After that visit, it was easy to make the decision to go into the program.
Im working on both the Machinist and CNC Machinist Diplomas and several certificates as well, she said. Coming into the shop each day doesnt feel like a chore. You get to use all the machines, and there is always so much more to using the machines than you thought before. Each day you are learning something new, and you get to create something that you can actually use.
I always thought that going to college was what I was supposed to do, but coming here has helped me in many more ways than just furthering my education, Molina said. It has been an opportunity to grow better.
Everyone here is always willing to help you in any way that they can. If someone doesnt have the answer, they will find someone who can.
Now that Im preparing to graduate, I have the confidence of knowing that I am going to get a job and be very successful at what I do. I have accomplished a lot more than what I anticipated. All it took was that first step, Molina said.
After graduating in May 2014, she plans to seek a machinist position in local machine shops. After that, if there is ever an opportunity to further my education with a Bachelors Degree in Machining, Ill definitely consider it, Molina concluded.
For information on spring classes, contact CMM Program Coordinator Dan Pancake, 606.326.2471 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.