It was a buddy of his that got Hilldale High School senior Blair Paulson
interested in the Precision Machining course at the Indian Capital Technology
Center in Muskogee.
“He showed me some of the stuff he had made and it looked pretty cool and then we talked about some of the places you could work and it really got me interested,” said Paulson who is also a member of the Hornets football team. “This is a lot like football where you have to learn all the plays. Here, you have to learn about the CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) machines and the manual lathes.”
Blair’s instructor at ICTC is David Acuff, who has gone full circle in his career.
“I took this very class back in the early 80’s and went to work right away. I spent 37 years in the industry and then started teaching some night classes here before moving into my day job four years ago.”
Acuff talked about the program and what the students will earn upon completion of the unique learning experience.
“It’s a two-year program that will give the students about 1050 hours of training and at the end they’ve earned a certification through the National Association of Metal Working Society and a certification on the lathes,” said Acuff. “I get calls all the time from businesses looking for people with these skills and certifications and the
pay usually starts at around $30 per hour.”
Acuff explained the details of the program curriculum.
“The first part of the program teaches extensive safety measures,” emphasized the
instructor, “and then they learn how to set up the machines, read blue prints and
eventually run the CNC machines.”
Even though it’s early in his first year in the program, Blair is already excited about what he’s seen and learned.
“I’m a guy who learns better when someone shows me what to do because it becomes more real. Mr. Acuff says that your imagination is your only limitation.
When he started talking about the job possibilities and the money, that really
flipped a switch for me.”
The teacher gave high marks for Paulson. “I think Blair has a good understanding of mechanical stuff and I think he can do real well in this trade if he so chooses.”
Whether it’s the precision machining class or another of the many paths
available at ICTC, Blair Paulson, who describes himself as funny and outgoing, says it’s a great opportunity for any high school student.
“ICTC is a great choice because it sets you up for a great opportunity and it shows you what industry is like, what a work environment will be like and the kind of people you’ll be working with. It provides you the keys to the future.”