Penn State DuBois to offer post-high school computer numerical control training

A young person watches a program run on a CNC controlled lathe.

Computer numerical control machines use computer software to automate precise manufacturing of specific parts. 

Credit: Penn State

DuBOIS, Pa. — Penn State DuBois and Continuing and Community Education are teaming up with Workforce Solutions for North Central PA and some of the region’s leading metal manufacturers to develop a program for graduating seniors that will connect them to one of the region’s most in-demand jobs.

For those graduating seniors who do not have a career plan or do not intend on going to a technical school or university, this training will help provide them with the entry-level skills to work in the metal manufacturing industry as a computer numerical control (CNC) lathe operator.

“The ideal candidate for this program is someone who did not make the choice or have the opportunity to go to a vocational program in high school but likes working with their hands, has good math skills, possesses mechanical aptitude and is now interested in a career making things as part of a manufacturing process,” said John Brennan, director of continuing education at Penn State DuBois. “Many high school students don’t have a solid career plan or higher education plan when they graduate. This could be the ideal boost for a recent high school graduate to put them on the path to a life-sustaining career.”

“Many manufacturers that we work with at the campus tell me that finding qualified staff to run their manufacturing equipment is one of the biggest challenges facing local manufacturing today,” Brennan continued. “We see this as a win-win situation for the regional workforce and also encourages bright young people to stay local and help maintain the economy of our region.”

Workforce Solutions will pay the registration fee for those who qualify for the training and local companies will help provide trainees with job shadowing opportunities and possibly job offers for those who successfully complete the 71-hour program.  

Applicants must be graduating from high school in 2024 and be 18 years of age by June 3. Trainees must have their own transportation to the classes, which will take place at the engineering production lab on the Penn State DuBois campus in the evenings between June 3 and Aug. 1. Students who are interested should get an application from their school guidance counselor or contact Penn State DuBois Continuing Education directly at 814-375-4836. Applications must be submitted before May 17. Class size is limited to allow more interaction with the instructors.

Penn State DuBois typically offers this training two times per year to companies who wish to send existing employees or to those seeking a new career. This will be the first time that the spots in the class are being reserved for graduating seniors from local high schools. Since the training was introduced in 2019, more than 40 new machinists have started or expanded their careers by completing this training.

A unique combination of high-level classroom and hands-on training, the classes all take place on the Penn State DuBois campus. Utilizing some of the region’s best manufacturing instructors and veteran CNC operators, students gain both the knowledge and the skills to become CNC Lathe operators. Hands-on classes are taught using a state-of-the-art Smart Machine Tool lathe in the campus’s engineering production laboratory.

Lecture courses include industrial math, blueprint reading, metrology, geometry, and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. Hands-on classes include introduction to CNC lathe, CNC lathe operations, basic G and M code, machine functions, and CNC programming and set-up. 

“The companies who have sent employees through this training have been very happy about the level of skill their trainees have come out with and many have sent multiple employees through the training in the five years that it’s been in operation,” Brennan said. “We hope this first offering will be successful and we hope to continue to expand the programs that we can offer those coming right out of high school so that we have an even larger impact on the manufacturing community in our region.”

Continuing and Community Education at Penn State DuBois is a bridge between Penn State resources and our partners, including business and industry, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and state and federal agencies. Our programs cover manufacturing and quality, engineering, human and health services, food service, computer and electronics, construction, professional and business services and more.