Machine Tool Program Leads to Jobs | ACTC

Machine Tool Program Leads to Jobs

Computerized Manufacturing and Machining Technology (CMMT) at Ashland Community and Technical College prepares people for a variety of machine tool jobs in the area.

The program name indicates both the type of skills that students learn and the types of jobs they can get. Machine tool technicians make metal parts for all types of machines from jet engines to guitars to washing machines.

Computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines are increasingly being used to make the metal parts, although manually operated drills, saws, lathes and mills are still important. Students in the ACTC program learn to use both manual and CNC equipment.

CNC machines can range in price from $20,000 to $150,000 each, and its important that students learn to use this expensive equipment effectively and efficiently. Classes emphasize hands-on experience using CNC milling machines and turning machines.

ACTC graduate James E. Hall is now working as a machinist at McSweeney Mill and Mine in South Point, OH. A Grayson resident and East Carter High School graduate, he received his Associate in Applied Science Degree in General Occupational Technical Studies/Machine Tool Technology in May 2013.

Hall says that the CNC training he received at ACTC was important to know for his job. He credits his teachers for helping him get ready for work in the field.

Like many ACTC programs, CMMT appeals to both those preparing for a first job and those starting over. ACTC offers two diplomas and three certificates to prepare graduates for machine shop employment.

The certificates in Exploratory Machining, Machine Tool Operator I and Machine Tool Operator II focus on basic machining skills. The CNC Machinist and Machinist diplomas add applied and advanced industrial machining classes as well as general education classes in math, computers and communications.

Certificate and Diploma credits may be applied toward an Associate in Applied Science Degree in General Occupational / Technical Studies.

Cody A. Stevens, a Flatwoods resident and 2011 Russell High School graduate, wanted to continue his education in order to make a better living in the future. I chose ACTC because it was close to home, and the tuition was reasonable, he said.

It was the right choice for me because I got experience using many different types of machines, and I received great instruction in a relaxed learning environment. He earned the Associate in Applied Science Degree in 2013 and is working at Motor Parts Inc. in Ironton.

Although many jobs involve CNC machines, manually operated tools are still used in some shops.

ACTC students learn to properly operate manual mills, lathes, drill presses and grinders to maximize their employment options.

The ability to use hand operated tools is important to Jeremy K. Phillips in his job as a machinist at Steen Cannons amp; Ordinance Works in Ashland.

A Catlettsburg resident and 2008 Boyd County High School graduate, Phillips came to college to get skills for a good job. He had not worked with machine tools before but it seemed interesting. Its pretty cool to be able to make basically anything you can think of, he said.

Machine Tool Job Outlook

The increasing number of retiring baby boomers is making a variety of high paying, rewarding jobs available. Machine Tool jobs are expected to increase 8 to 15 percent by 2020 according to the Kentucky Employment Outlook. The mean hourly wage for CNC machinists in the Ashland, Huntington, and Ironton metro area is $17.52 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In addition to McSweeneys and Steen Cannons, Machine Tool graduates have found employment at ESMII, Flowserve Inc. and Riggs Machine Shop in Ashland; Industrial Machine amp; Fabrication and McCorkle Machine Shops in Huntington, WV; Motor Parts Inc. in Ironton, OH and Osco Industries, Inc. in Portsmouth, OH.

Fall classes start August 18, and August 4 is the application deadline. Applications are online at