Precision machining is a high-stakes, high-risk job that requires a great amount of skill and training.
And that’s hard to convey in a textbook.
So on Wednesday, the students studying precision machining at the Golden Isles Career Academy took a trip to ScoJet, a precision parts processor located in the industrial park near the Brunswick-McBride Industrial Park.
At ScoJet, the students received a tour of the shop and were able to observe the manufacturers operate the computer-programmed machines.
“We take the raw forging and do what they call the ‘rough machining,’ and we’re basically getting it down to the precision size and shape that it needs to be,” said Dawna Trzcianka, president and co-owner of the company. “When it leaves here, it’s then retreated and machined again.”
ScoJet works on parts that will later help assemble airplanes, yachts and much more.
“It is a huge undertaking, and there is a skill level involved,” Trzcianka said. “This is why we get involved with (GICA), because we want them to be interested, we want them to be involved, because right now in the U.S. that’s something we’ve lost. And that is what we’re working on, to hopefully bring some of that back, because we need the skilled workers.”
Since relocating to Brunswick in 2012, ScoJet has grown from 7 to 18 employees. Trzcianka said the company hosts tours for GICA students about twice a year, in hopes of keeping an interest in pursing jobs in precision machining alive.
“We do want to get interest, because it is hard to find skilled labor,” she said. “I think the median age of a machinist is 58 years old. So that’s not helping us, because they’re going to want to retire here shortly.”
Philip Davis, the precision machining instructor at GICA, wanted his students to learn about the basic programming that goes into precision machining and to actually see and touch the equipment.
“I can show them a YouTube video of (this machine) and they’re like, ‘Oh cool.’ But Youtube can’t do that any justice,” he said, gesturing to one of the machines, which stood more than 20 feet tall and cost around $400,000.
The students left ScoJet and drove over to ProLube for another tour, to see the work that goes on there. Some lessons can’t be taught in a classroom, Davis said.
“They don’t understand that paperwork is what costs all the money,” he said. “They don’t understand that you can’t mess up. One mistake at this costs you your job, and they need to hear stuff like that from somebody besides me.”
Davis said his students needed to see firsthand what a job in precision machining really entails.
“There’s only so much you can get out of the book,” he said.
Spotlight on Schools appears Thursdays. Contact Lauren McDonald at lmcdonald@ goldenisles.news or at 265-8320, ext. 322 to suggest a topic for a column.