RCBI Enrolls Record Number in Machinist Training Classes

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) has expanded its Machinist Technology Program, enrolling a record number of students in the 2009-2010 classes, according to Director and CEO Charlotte Weber.

With classes now being conducted at four locations, total enrollment has risen to 41, a 16 percent increase over last year’s figure.

The 2009-2010 group ranges in age from 18 to 40-plus years, including several displaced workers who are retraining and two women. For the first time, Machinist Technology Program classes are being taught in Wheeling in partnership with West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC) and Wheeling Park High School.

“The cooperation we’ve received from WVNCC officials and those at Wheeling Park has been outstanding as we proceed jointly to broaden the range of workforce programs available in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle and the immediate region,” Ms. Weber observed.

The program also is being conducted at RCBI Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers in Huntington, Bridgeport and Rocket Center.

At the same time, Ms. Weber reported increased part-time enrollments and first-time, full-time enrollments in advanced CNC (computer-numerical-control) machining courses in several locations. Participants in these programs will earn their national CNC certifications from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills and are eligible for academic credit from Marshall Community & Technical College (MCTC).

The RCBI Machinist Technology Program was the first in the nation to couple certification by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills with a two-year college degree option, now available through Marshall Community & Technical College, Potomac State College of West Virginia University and West Virginia Northern Community College. RCBI also is again the first in West Virginia to couple CNC certification by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills with the opportunity to earn academic credit.

Ms. Weber credited “outstanding work” by the RCBI staff for this year’s growth in the Machinist Technology Program. “Everyone is working tirelessly on behalf of every participant to ensure that Senator Byrd’s vision of RCBI as ‘a teaching factory for the future’ is maintained,” she said. “The American workforce is headed in ways that could not be imagined just a decade ago and West Virginia is fortunate to have a technological treasure such as RCBI. Accelerating technologies will create great changes in the ways we work, the goods we produce and the services we provide. RCBI is committed to helping ensure that our people are prepared to address the challenges -- and the entrepreneurial opportunities -- that lie ahead.”

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.