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Ellmers, Stone, Shook visit CCCC's computer integrated machining program

Ellmers, Stone, Shook visit CCCC's computer integrated machining program

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U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (right) asks Central Carolina Community College Computer Integrated Machin ... (more)

Ellmers, Stone, Shook visit CCCC's computer integrated machining program

click to enlarge ⊗

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (front, second from left), holds a desk nameplate created for her by Centr ... (more)

Ellmers, Stone, Shook visit CCCC's computer integrated machining program

click to enlarge ⊗

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (left) expresses her surprise and pleasure at being presented a desk namep ... (more)

Ellmers, Stone, Shook visit CCCC's computer integrated machining program

click to enlarge ⊗

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (left) toured Central Carolina Community College's Computer Integrated Mac ... (more)

03.14.2012College GeneralCollege & Community

SANFORD - U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R, N.C. District 2) visited Central Carolina Community College's Lee County Campus March 14 and liked what she saw.

Ellmers, accompanied by N.C. Rep. Michael Stone (R, District 51) and Lee County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Linda Shook, toured the college's Computer Integrated Machining (CIM) with an Emphasis in Tool, Die and Mold Making program.

They came to learn how the college is training students in one area of high technology workforce skills. CCCC is an authorized Haas Technical Education Center and certified by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), training students to use computer-guided machining equipment.

According to an article in CNNMoney online, there is a critical shortage of machinists. Many people are unemployed but don't have the skill sets for the high tech machining positions. The article stated that over the past few decades, United States manufacturing has been outsourced to other countries. Now that it is slowly coming back, the demand is high for skilled workers.

"How important community colleges like CCCC are in training folks to get jobs," Ellmers said. "Right now, the community college system is the one we need to help the most in this economy so we can get people back to work with job skills. At the federal level, we are trying to get money to the states for this."

During the brief visit to the campus, the elected officials heard from instructors and students about computer integrated machining. The program trains students to use computers to design and machine precision parts for major industries, public institutions, government agencies, and specialty machine shops. There is a shortage of such skilled craftspeople in the United States, so most CIM students have firm job offers even before they graduate.

"We are really glad to have political leaders on our campuses to see what programs like Computer Integrated Machining can do," said Dr. Stephen Athans, CCCC dean of Vocational and Technical Programs. "We train and help students develop very technical skills that help them build a long-term career that has pay and benefits that guarantee a good quality of life, which also benefits our communities."

Machining instructor Chris Jackson presented Ellmers with an aluminum nameplate of three-dimensional letters, created for her by students on a computer-guided machine. Jackson said that it took 80,000 math calculations for the machine to be able to cut out the letters precisely.

"I love it!" Ellmers said as she received it.

Ellmers represents the Second Congressional District, which includes all or parts of Chatham, Cumberland, Franklin, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Nash, Sampson, Vance and Wake counties. She serves on the House committees on agriculture, foreign affairs and small business, where she chairs the Subcommittee on Healthcare and Technology.

"We know of Rep. Ellmers' interest in business, technology and trade," said Dr. Bud Marchant, CCCC president. "We appreciate this opportunity to show her some of the work CCCC does in training people with high technology skills that not only strengthen our local, state and nation's economic and industrial bases but also enable them to be competitive in the global marketplace."

Stone was also impressed with what he saw.

"At the state level, we are looking at our community colleges to be leaders in changing the high unemployment numbers in North Carolina," he said after the tour. "Training for technical jobs will help us do that."

Shook has been to CCCC many times, but this was her first visit to the CIM program.

"I've heard a lot about this program and I am impressed with the training," she said. "Workforce development is No. 1 for economic development."