MCAM Northwest

Empowering Success: The Machining Program at Chemeketa Community College

At Chemeketa Community College’s Machining Program, students are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the manufacturing industry. Discover how the instructors at Chemeketa Community College are using Mastercam to shape the next generation of machinists through hands-on learning and industry-focused education.

What is the best machining software for students?
With more installed seats in industry and education than any other CAM software, Mastercam is the best choice for schools in search of support and real solutions to help students bridge the skills gap and begin rewarding careers in manufacturing. Educators choose Mastercam to introduce students to manufacturing and provide practical skills and experience using the same CAD/CAM software trusted by leaders in manufacturing and smaller job shops alike.

The Skilled Trades Programs at Chemeketa

Chemeketa Community College, located in Salem, Oregon, offers approximately 40 one-year and two-year programs designed to help students prepare for a professional career. One of these options is the machining track, in which students can earn a two-year degree or certificates in machining technology at Chemeketa.

Recently, MCAM Northwest Sales Engineer John Stauffer had the opportunity to sit down with Sheldon Schnider, instructor of Machining Technologies at Chemeketa Community College, to discuss the machining technology program. (To learn more about Sheldon, his background, and how he got into teaching, read out the full interview HERE.)

Bridging the Skills Gap and Promoting the Importance of Skilled Trades

The overarching goal of the Machining Program at Chemeketa is to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the machining industry, ultimately earning an Associate of Applied Science in Manufacturing and Machining. In our conversation with Sheldon, he expressed that he and his colleagues aim to provide students with a comprehensive education that prepares them for advancement within the field, ensuring they have a solid foundation for their careers.

As the machining industry faces a shortage of skilled machinists, it is becoming increasingly important to increase awareness among younger generations about the value and potential of hands-on trades. To address these challenges, the instructors at Chemeketa strive to strike a balance between offering rapid training options like one-year certificates and providing a robust educational experience that meets industry demands.

Mastercam Gives Students the Programming and Machining Skills Demanded by Prospective Employers

Mastercam plays a crucial role in achieving the program’s goals by providing students with essential machining software skills that complement their hands-on machining experience. While the program still emphasizes learning how to handwrite code, particularly in the first year, Mastercam is integrated into the curriculum in the second year to design projects, generate code, and post-process. This approach ensures that students become well-rounded machinists with the ability to understand, edit, and run code efficiently.

This emphasis on understanding code extends beyond mere programming to encompass practical applications like ramp angles and toolpaths, enhancing students’ comprehension and mastery of machining techniques. Additionally, hands-on projects that incorporate Mastercam skills, such as designing and programming specific parts for machining, challenge students to think creatively and problem-solve, enhancing their proficiency with Mastercam. Other projects involve having students modify designs and incorporate innovative features, showcasing their ability to apply Mastercam skills in real-world scenarios. Through Mastercam and hands-on learning, students gain a comprehensive understanding of machining principles, preparing them for success in the industry.

A Commitment to Student Success and Advancing Manufacturing

Teaching students using Mastercam in the program translates into students entering the workforce with a solid foundation of machining software experience, making them valuable assets from day one. This targeted approach ensures that students are equipped with skills that align with industry demands, enhancing their employability and potential for growth in the manufacturing sector.

And support from the instructors at Chemeketa doesn’t end when they graduate. The program fosters strong relationships between instructors and students, creating a supportive community. Students can reach out for continued mentorship, guidance, and assistance after graduation. The instructors also maintain connections with industry contacts who frequently seek skilled individuals, ensuring that graduates have access to potential job openings and career pathways. This collaborative network within the machining community of the Willamette Valley reflects a commitment to advancing manufacturing in the region and underscores the program’s dedication to student success beyond graduation.

The Importance of Manufacturing Businesses Supporting Education

For manufacturing businesses, regular involvement with educational institutions and maintaining strong relationships with industry partners is essential for sustainable growth in manufacturing.

Initiatives like mock interviews and cooperative work experience programs in bridging the gap between education and industry, ultimately facilitating student placement and workforce development. Furthermore, collaboration between manufacturing businesses and educational institutions can be instrumental in driving innovation and growth within the industry.

At Chemeketa Community College, the machining program isn’t just about teaching technical skills; it’s about empowering students to succeed in a dynamic and evolving industry. Through hands-on training, cutting-edge software instruction, and a supportive community, graduates emerge ready to tackle the challenges of modern manufacturing. With dedicated educators like Sheldon leading the way, Chemeketa is shaping the future of machining, one student at a time.

For instructors teaching middle school through college, MCAM Northwest is proud to serve as a Mastercam reseller for educational manufacturing communities. Want to learn more? Reach out to our Sales Team!


Key takeaways (TL;DR)

  • Chemeketa’s Machining Program aims to address the shortage of skilled machinists while equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed for success in the industry.
  • The program at Chemeketa Community College emphasizes practical projects and hands-on experience, challenging students to apply their machining software skills to real-world scenarios.
  • Mastercam software is a cornerstone of the program, providing students with essential skills and ensuring that students are well-prepared for industry standards and expectations.
  • Upon graduation, students receive ongoing support and mentorship, as well as access to job opportunities within the machining community.
  • Stronger industry-academia ties are essential for sustainable growth in manufacturing.


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