Seeing a Future in CNC
Rodney Jones found his perfect career.
A graduate of Loudonville High School and Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center, Rodney began studying business, with an eye toward taking over the family business from his parents. Instead, the family accepted an offer to sell that business, and Rodney began searching for a job.
“I wanted to move out on my own and took a job at Step 2 working a 12 hour a day swing shift” Rodney said. “At the same time, I was going to NC State full-time.”
Sometimes his work and class schedules collided, “there were times when I would start working on Monday morning at 6:00 a.m. and not slow down until Wednesday evening.” He continues, “It drove me to be better. I pushed to excel in my coursework.”
That coursework included studying integrated engineering concepts used in advanced manufacturing, including robotics, lasers and nanotechnology. “My (associate) degree will be in Manufacturing Technology, which combines Computer Aided Design (CAD) and advanced Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) machining.”
Christina Barker, Professor of Industrial Technology has been impressed with Rodney, “He’s one of the first to graduate (this Spring) in Manufacturing Technology, the program which was re-structured from our former Tool and Die program. He is the first NC State student ever to earn National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certification.”
“After I took the NIMS pre-test, my instructor asked me to take the test. She even helped pay the testing fee. It’s great to be the first student (NIMS) certified. It’s recognized in manufacturing everywhere.”
“Barker added, “He has been an exceptional, highly motivated student. He is working as an intern with Humanetics, the crash test dummy (organization). He’s completing his internship here at the Kehoe Center.”
Rodney is employed as a six-month intern helping upsize a crash test dummy which will be used to study car restraints on overweight people during a crash. “It wasn’t long ago I was working 12 hour shifts. I don’t even have my degree (he will graduate May 2014), and I’m already better off than I was before.”
“NC State lets you pour yourself into what you’re passionate about. Faculty is always there when you need them, but they let you go.” Jones continues, “No one is holding you back from doing it. It’s up to you!”
Rodney’s wife, Stephanie, is also a graduate of North Central State College. She is a registered Nurse employed at the Good Shepherd Home in Ashland.
The Jones family is building a future on the education they’ve received at NC State. Rodney knows he’s ready for what’s next, “I’m working my dream job. As an engineering specialist I get to design things on the computer and make it in the real world.”
What would he share with others thinking of enrolling in college and pursuing their dreams? “If you have the smallest interest in something, go into a program where you can use that. If you like working with numbers, look into business or accounting. If you want to help people, look into nursing or public service. I like working with my hands and figuring things out. Manufacturing Technology was perfect for me.”