Rhodes State to Offer Free CNC Machining Training for “Uniquely Abled” Workforce

Posted on January 22, 2021

LIMA, Ohio, January 21, 2021 – Rhodes State College is at the forefront of reimagining today’s workforce. One of the workforce initiatives coming to the College in April of 2021 is the “Uniquely Abled Academy” (UAA).

A free training program, the UAA’s mission is to shift the paradigm of thinking about an individual as “disabled” to thinking of them as “uniquely abled.” The Uniquely Abled Academy training program for Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machinists is a 16-week distinctive program, matching the individuals on the autism spectrum, whom it serves. The typical characteristics of those on the spectrum are a perfect match for operators of CNC machines, which are used to cut and shape materials for manufacturing.

“The term “Uniquely Abled” has been coined to distinguish what a person can do, as opposed to what they can’t do, which is often the stigma attached to the term “disabled,” said John Wheeler, Program Coordinator of the UAA as he described the initiative. “It has been observed that jobs requiring individuals with a high degree of focused attention to detailed repetitive processes, able to follow clear objective instructions, and familiarity with computers are well suited for a person with high functioning autism.”

Students in the new Academy will learn to program, setup, and operate CNC machines, combined with the use of quality control instruments, shop mathematics, and blueprint reading. Graduates will qualify for entry-level positions, including machine trainee, machinist apprentice, CNC operator, and CNC programmer. Students will not only learn the required skills of CNC operation, but also the soft skills needed to obtain and keep employment. Rhodes State will work with manufacturers to place graduates and provide post-hire support to the student and coaching to the employers.

Today, CNC operators are in short supply in the manufacturing industry. The Ohio Occupational Employment Projections Report predicts 1,325 openings per year through 2026 for CNC operators at a median hourly wage of $19.28. The Rhodes State UAA will help meet this demand while opening a door of opportunity for a new, fully qualified workforce.

For more information about the Rhodes State “Uniquely Abled Academy,” contact John Wheeler at Wheeler.J@rhodesstate.edu or 419-995-8194 or visit www.UniquelyAbledProject.org

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