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May 31, 2013

Hands-on training prepares students for high-demand careers

Blinn’s Hodde Center certifies five new machinists to meet local need

Students from Brenham, Hempstead and Bellville received their machinist certification from Blinn College’s A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center today, qualifying them to fill the local industry’s growing demand for professional machinists.

Christopher Dennis of Brenham, Jose Eduardo Flores of Bellville and Derrick Figueroa, Gregory Ortega and Michal Johnson of Hempstead each received their graduation certificates after completing 280 hours of training. The certification included 200 hours of hands-on experience working with mills and lathes.

Machinists use specialized tools to make or modify metal and plastic parts by cutting away excess material in much the same way a woodcarver cuts away wood to form a specific shape or design. The Hodde Center course covers mathematics, precision measurement, blueprint reading and manual operation of mills and lathes.

“This graduating class is very committed, both in attendance and aptitude,” said Hodde Center Director David Yeager. “They have performed high quality machining during their training and have demonstrated the ability to make parts to specifications. It’s a good group and they’ve all spent a lot of time on the machines.”

The Hodde Center plans to expand its machinist training offerings this Fall when it introduces a new CNC (computer numerical controlled) machinist course. MIC Group and TFE Company Inc. have each donated CNC machines to the Hodde Center and Blinn has purchased another to give the Hodde Center manufacturing lab a total of 12 machines for student training.

The next machinist class runs from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, June 24-Aug. 16. The course costs $1,750, and partial scholarships are available.

The 12,000-square foot Hodde Center was built in 2009 to provide local training for a quality, viable workforce in Washington and the surrounding communities. Its staff works in cooperation with local businesses to provide a well-trained workforce that strengthens the local economy. For more information on the Hodde Center and its course offerings, call 979-830-4443 or visit www.blinn.edu/blinntec.