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Workforce Wednesday: Armando Medina says CNC/Machining program has been 'an incredible gift'

March 31, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- GRCC Workforce Training programs provide in-demand skills leading to rewarding careers. Each Wednesday we’ll meet students who are heading down an educational pathway and changing their lives by earning occupational certificates.

Armando Medina was ready to transform his life. He spent years moving around various jobs but was searching for a real career. He has several daughters and his wife to support and he knew it would be a struggle if he went back to school.

Medina feels like all the stars aligned for him when he learned about the GRCC Machine Tool/CNC Job Training program. He attended an online information session and was excited.

The instructor, Andy Beach, spoke so passionately about all the opportunities in the trade that Medina knew that this program would provide him the transformation he was looking for.

According to the 2021 Hot Jobs put out by West Michigan Works!, the median hourly wage for a CNC machine operator is more than $20 per hour with many openings in this field annually.

In just five months, Machine Tool/Computer Numerical Control Job Training students learn to shape metal and various materials to precise dimensions by using machine tools. MT/CNC technicians plan and set up the correct sequence of machine operations in accordance with blueprints, layouts or other instructions to write both manual and computer-generated machine programs. The technician is required to use various hand tools, micrometers, gauges and other precision measuring instruments.

Skills are developed in GRCC’s new lab in the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center and students are trained in print reading, basic shop math, using measurement tools, terminology and communicate skills.

Now, successfully working at Blackmere Pump, PSG, Medina is inspired and hopeful for what is to come.

“The (Job Training) CNC/Machining program has been an incredible gift,” Medina said. “I love this work and can see the potential for a lifelong career. My family is proud of me for going to college and my confidence has grown like never before! I honestly do feel like a new person. I’m just so thankful!”

Anyone interested in gaining career skills through GRCC Workforce Training can connect via email at, and by phone at (616) 234-3800. Additional information is at

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