NIMS Scholarship Awarded to SBVC to Fund State-of-the-Art Equipment

In just 18 weeks or less, students at San Bernardino Valley College can prepare for high demand fields, some old-style machining and some are new style cutting edge CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled). Miguel Ortiz, machinist and computer-aided drafting instructor, says no campus in this region beats San Bernardino Valley College for its high-end specialized equipment. 
 
Spring semester, the campus is ready to roll out an assortment of new choices, along with one of their prized new pieces of CNC equipment for the tool and die program, soon to be unveiled. The CNC electric discharge machine has an electronic field that erodes, basically melts surrounding material away. “It has the capacity of cutting through 12 inches of hardened steel. The program has sat idle until we were awarded funding,” Ortiz said. 
 
To get started, the campus was recently awarded $2,500 NIMS scholarship, allowing each student to take the Basic Layout Test for free. Students use hand tools, draw lines and arcs, set a punch, and from there, it's submitted to a local company to verify that the test meets the requirements. 
 
CNC equipment is usually used for high-end mass production, but he said old type conventional machines, Lathe and Mill, remain in strong demand. Workers are needed today for critical thinking, welding, and re-machining. 
 
At SBVC, students can access four levels of conventional machining courses, about 125 hours a semester, or over 500 hours of old-style machines. Once they finish the 18-week course, including lectures with NIMS standard embedded within course work, Ortiz said they should be ready for pretest and Basic Layout Test. The curriculum meets NIMS, which sets the standard for skill level and attainment. 
 
SBVC is also expanding its outreach to help specialized populations achieve specialized skills. Machining jobs typically start at $14-20 an hour. Students could take it a step further by enhancing their skill set to meet the needs of the aerospace industry. The college recently increased recruitment to draw more students into the machining courses. 
 
“We are starting an autism operators program, and we're also starting an apprenticeship program. We're working with the Dreamers, with parolees, and with veterans,” said Ortiz, who is NIMS certified. Last semester, five of his students moved up to $17 an hour, and one operator machinist got a raise to $20 an hour.  
 
While basic-level programming takes 18 weeks, go-getters can prepare in as little as eight weeks for their first test. For those pursuing advanced technology, the program offers top of the line machines training. Because SBVC equipment is superior, other schools have an option to send their students to gain experience with their niche equipment. They have also been buying more aerospace-grade equipment to help students access higher-end jobs. 
 
“The jobs market in California is in aerospace. There’s no other state that makes more aerospace parts than we do,” he said. Although he admits that a lot of their equipment is expensive, he often gets asked when he will stop buying the high-end equipment. 
“I say I’ll stop when I have to lubricate the students and push them in the door,” he laughs.