Bradley Central High School senior Mckinnley Teague has become the first Bradley County student to receive a Machining Level I standard certification.
“My family has been in engineering/machining, pretty much everybody, so that started me (getting interested in it),” Teague said.
The initial National Institute of Metalworking Skills certification test consists of 60 questions taken from a study guide provided to students. The test is taken online through NIMS and must be given in a proctored setting.
“I was kind of nervous,” Teague said. “Then I started. And I was like this is easy.”
He said the questions were the exact information he had reviewed in the study guide.
The student passed the test on Feb. 15
“It doesn’t tell you what you made on it. It just tells you if you passed or failed,” he said.
The Machining Level I standard certification focuses on safety in the field.
The class instructor at BCHS is Teague’s cousin.
“Precision Machining is a career in which a metal product is manufactured by using a blueprint or a sample part,” according to BCHS machining class teacher Shawn Williams.
This is the first year Williams has encouraged his students to pursue certification with the National Institute of Metalworking Skills.
Ken Saffles of Whirlpool served as the proctor for Teague’s test.
Each higher level of NIMS certification has different tests and requirements. While each has a written test, some have an additional hands-on component using the machines.
Williams said NIMS certification shows that a student has worked to have knowledge and expertise beyond what is accomplished with a high school diploma. Machining is an area where there is more need then there are workers, according to Williams.
“Mckinnley has worked extremely hard throughout the machining classes,” career and technical education supervisor Arlette Robinson said.
She said the certification will help Teague as he advances toward his career.
“This is the only school in Bradley County that has the machining program,” Robinson said.
Teague has taken machining classes at the school for the past three years.
“You start with just a plain metal piece and make it into something that looks good,” Teague said. “You can make it into anything.”
Sometimes the class is able to fix parts for other departments.
“It’s rewarding,” Teague said.
Within machining there are two approaches a student can choose — tool and die or computer and pneumatic controlled.
Teague said he would prefer to work the tool and die approach because he likes doing the work manually.
An industrial tool and die machine shop makes parts for assembly line equipment, such as the dies that form the pieces of a product such as a stove.
Teague has already had the opportunity to begin working with machining after school in a valve shop.
He plans to continue his studies by attending Athens Technical College.
“I like the atmosphere (there),” Teague said
NIMS certification is beginning to be more important and recognized in the Southern states, Williams said.
He said the BCHS program is working to offer more certifications to students beyond just the standard level certification.