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Working on machines and a career change

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Apr 28, 2022

Kenia Diaz has always enjoyed working with her hands. Back in 2015, she earned two certificates in the Automotive Technology program at College of Lake County (CLC). She wanted to continue learning more, but couldn’t because of her job at the time.

Stock image of a PMT workerThe job Diaz currently works at, however, has inspired her to return to CLC, this time studying Precision Machining Technology (PMT).

The PMT career program prepares students for employment and advancement in the high-skilled, high-demand field of metalworking and machining. Dealing with machines, you learn to program them and make them run on their own.

Through a temporary employment agency, Diaz got a job in the tool room at Deublin, a local manufacturing company in Lake County, in 2018.

“I was working in a warehouse and saw everything that was in the toolroom,” Diaz said. “I got curious and looked to CLC for career options, and PMT seemed like a really cool choice.”

CLC was an excellent choice for Diaz to pursue more education for many reasons, she said. Not only does it have great opportunities, but it is close to home. Also, having the option to take evening classes means she can go to school while working.

In the PMT program, Diaz enjoys how hands-on all the classes are, especially since the best way for her to learn is by doing it.

“The best parts of the program are the hands-on opportunities,” she said. “You don’t just learn. You actually work with the machines, and the instructors are there to help you through any issues.”

Classes at the beginning of the program involve writing code for the machines, but students quickly get to running the machines. The latter part gives them a great idea of what the career entails.

Since starting classes, Diaz’s experience has already helped her move into the role of machine operator.

For students who do not want to spend two years earning an associate degree, PMT has certificate options for those who want to get to work more quickly. These credentials can be stacked, with better career opportunities opening with each level earned. Plus, it eventually leads to earning an associate degree.

“CLC is a good place for anyone to start out,” Diaz said. “Whether you want to transfer or get an associate degree or certificate, there are paths for everyone.”

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.