In computer numerical control, or CNC, computer programming controls and coordinates the various functions of the machining technology process. Because the United States has one of the world's largest manufacturing economies, training new personnel is vital. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills sets industry standards and accreditation and provides certification. A number of Illinois schools offer several paths to the mastery of CNC skills.
Central Illinois Colleges
Danville Area Community College in Danville and Rock Valley College in Rockford provide NIMS-accredited associate or certificate programs in manufacturing engineering technology. The Danville program includes an associate degree option in CNC or computer-aided design, with training on a wide range of CNC-programmed machines. Illinois Central College in East Peoria and Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby also provide certificate programs in CNC machine operations. Kankakee Community College in Kankakee offers an associate degree in manufacturing technology, with a machine tool specialization, that includes CNC coursework. Students finish short-term training certificates as they progress, and they can join at various points in the program.
Chicago Metro Colleges
The Richard J. Daley College and the Humboldt Park Vocational Education Center at Wilbur Wright College, both part of the City Colleges of Chicago, and the College of Lake County in Grayslake all offer NIMS-accredited certificate and associate programs in CNC machining or programming. The BIR Training Center in Chicago offers a comprehensive NIMS-accredited CNC program that also includes coordinate-measuring machines, robotics, CAD and computer-aided manufacturing, with preparation assistance to become certified. Elgin Community College and Prairie State College in Chicago Heights provide associate degrees and certificates in computer integrated manufacturing, CNC operations or programming.
Southern Illinois Colleges
Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville offers a NIMS-accredited precision machining technology program leading to an associate degree in addition to a certificate in CNC machining. Both programs prepare students to enter machining fields as apprentices. Wabash Valley College, an Illinois Eastern Community College in Mount Carmel, includes CNC training within its associate degree program in advanced manufacturing, while Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey offers an industrial technology program leading to an associate degree that also includes CNC coursework.
The Jane Addams Resource Corporation in Chicago, a center for working families, bundles financial support services, employment services and job training, including a NIMS-accredited CNC machinist fast-track program. The program is a 20-week, 500-hour program for unemployed adults that also includes general industry and forklift modules. TechWorks' Workforce Training by EIGERLab in Rockford also offers a fast-track NIMS-accredited CNC machine operator program. Symbol Training Institute in Skokie, a Manufacturing Sector Center for the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, offers several NIMS-accredited CNC programs that also include internships at the school's machine shop.
The Austin Polytechnical Academy in Chicago, a college and career prep high school, includes a NIMS-accredited CNC machining credentials training program at its manufacturing training center, which is also open as an after-hours program for the community. Leyden High School District 212 in Park Ridge and Prosser Career Academy, a Chicago public high school, provide NIMS-accredited CNC certification courses for enrolled high school students.
- National Institute for Metalworking Skills: About NIMS
- Illinois Central College: CNC Machine Operator Program Description
- Danville Area Community College: Manufacturing Engineering Technology
- Rock Valley College: Manufacturing Engineering Technology Degree
- City Colleges of Chicago: Richard J. Daley College, Manufacturing Technology Department
- College of Lake County: Computerized Numerical Control Programming
- Elgin Community College: Industrial Manufacturing Technology
- Prairie State College: Manufacturing Technology, Curriculum
- City Colleges of Chicago: Wilbur Wright College, Humboldt Vocational Education Center
John Huddle is an Army veteran with enlisted service as general hospital staff and hospital chaplain's assistant. His career also included stints as a teacher, adjunct faculty, administrator and school psychologist. Twice, Dr. Huddle was a major party nominee for state office. He also served as a director on several nonprofit boards. Today he enjoys consulting and lobbying for underdog causes.