Harvard machine shop provides students with hands-on experience

When it comes to preparing students to take on CNC machinist jobs later in life, it's best to focus on curriculum that emphasizes hard, old-fashioned experience. That's the approach that Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences seems to have taken, according to a post that recently appeared on the university's website.

The site describes the capabilities of the school's instructional lab, which emulates the conditions of professional machine shops in order to give students the chance to interact with professional equipment. It's encouraging to hear that there's a variety of different kinds of machines that these students have access to, including a CNC milling machine and laser-based tools.

In a video featured on the same page, instructor Stan Cotreau discussed the importance of giving students in different disciplines the chance to see this work firsthand.

"These days, we're noticing the students that come in young, they don't have the hand-tool knowledge that a lot of the students before used to have," Cotreau said. "It's something that's going away."

Creating a workforce that is interested in manufacturing—and has the skills to take on jobs in areas like precision machining—is an ongoing concern for domestic manufacturing companies, as Nichole Dobo of Delaware Online recently wrote. Her article includes information on efforts like the Manufacturing Universities Act, which would devote resources to various programs that support engineering. 

This focus on ensuring that workers have the skills needed to finish complex projects should extend to what companies demand from private machine shops. A CNC machinist with experience can give customers peace of mind that their specialty projects will be given the attention they require.