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November 12, 2013

Hodde Center instructors earn elite certification

Stringent NIMS standards are recognized nationwide

Students and businesses throughout Washington County and the surrounding communities have long recognized the value of a machining certificate earned at Blinn College’s A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center.

Now the credentials of Blinn’s top-notch Hodde Center staff will be nationally recognized after four members completed certification with the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), Inc.

With a stakeholder base of more than 6,000 metalworking companies, NIMS has developed skills standards in 24 operational areas covering the breadth of metalworking operations, ranging from entry to a master level. To earn certification, instructors must meet both performance and theory requirements.

Instructors Terry Winkelmann, Brisco Humes, Herb Dabelgott and Hodde Center Director David Yeager each earned certification after spending weeks reviewing NIMS terminology, processes and safety standards. Certification included written and skill exams that totaled approximately 40 hours of testing. MIC Group helped fund Blinn’s certification efforts.

Hodde Center students will now have the opportunity to be NIMS certified at the same time they earn their Blinn College machining certificate, qualifying them for employment opportunities throughout the nation.

“If our students move out of state, they may move to an area of the country where employers aren’t familiar with Blinn College and its outstanding reputation, but NIMS is the national standard,” said Megan Costanza, dean of Workforce Education. “For the rest of their lives, students who complete our machining program will have a certification that means something to every employer across the country.”

The Hodde Center is now one of just four sites in the state with NIMS-certified instructors. Next year, the facility will be considered for NIMS certification. If successful, it could become just the second site in the state certified for courses in which NIMS instructors can earn their credentials.
“That would allow us to hold statewide and nationwide training, not only for community colleges but for industry as well,” Costanza said.

The Hodde Center’s machinist course includes approximately 280 hours of training, including 200 hours of hands-on experience 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.

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