Grafton High Students Visit RCBI Bridgeport Facility

Students visiting RCBIBRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Twenty-six students from Grafton High School got a close look at high-tech machining during a recent visit to the Bridgeport Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center operated by the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI). They were accompanied by the school’s machinist instructor, Matt Cole.

Displaying and explaining the center’s array of state-of-the-art lathes and mills, including CNC (computer-numerical-controlled) equipment were veteran machinist Bernie Wilson, who instructs students in the RCBI Machinist Technology Program, and Bridgeport site manager Paul Beatty.

The students toured both the metals and composites shop areas. Cole, who is in his first year at Grafton High, said the students were impressed with not only the machinery but with the facility’s professional atmosphere. “They saw the high-tech machinery and were amazed,” he remarked.

Following the tour, Larry Cartmill, recruiter, outlined its different phases of the Machinist Technology Program, which has graduated nearly 250 students since its inception. About 90 percent of those completing the program have been placed in machinist jobs. At least nine of the Grafton students expressed an interest in enrolling in the 2009 class, Cartmill said.

RCBI partners with Marshall Community & Technical College, enabling those machinist students who choose to do so to earn associate degrees. Financial aid is available to those enrolling through the college.

Cartmill noted that there are an estimated 33,000 openings for machinists nationwide.

Those wishing additional information may visit www.rcbi.org or telephone Cartmill at (304) 781-1678.

RCBI provides access to cutting edge technology and technical training to manufacturers across the region. Operating from Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers in Huntington, South Charleston, Bridgeport and Rocket Center (near Keyser in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle), its mission includes developing a quality, just-in-time supplier base for the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the commercial sector.