HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — There's demand for computer numerically-controlled machine operators in the Shenandoah Valley. These workers help operate and maintain the equipment that helps build parts of many things people use every day.
Albert Ullrich is a CNC technician at Cadence in Staunton. He uses this equipment to help make parts used in precision medical equipment.
"I've always been a hands-on kind of person and I was just looking for something in manufacturing and I know a couple of people who work here at Cadence who are engineers, so I figured I'd give it a shot," said Ullrich.
Ullrich has been with the company for more than seven years. He started out as a operator.
"You, at first, learn the basics of how to measure a part or whatever you're working with and then you take the reins of running the machine and see how all of that works. The training takes from six months to a year, sometimes longer than that," said Ullrich.
Companies like Cadence help employees by reimbursing them for taking classes to help their careers.
“I definitely think it's helped me get a better grasp on things I'm doing as far as what I'm doing on the shop floor and things to look for," said Ullrich.
According to statistics gathered by the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development board, the salary range for CNC technicians is between $30,300 and $57,400. Over the next decade, there's a projected need for 28 of these positions in the region. Most positions require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience or an associate degree.
“I see this. We do a lot of medical and industrial work here and I see this growing in the years to come. You're never going to stop needing those things and I can see it growing and becoming a lot bigger," said Ullrich.