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CNC student soars high in college through hands-on learning

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Kayla Lohse - CNC Machinist student

Kayla Lohse

CNC Machinist student

Kayla Lohse discovered her love for hands-on work soon after graduating from high school.

Working at the same machine shop as her uncle, Lohse developed an interest in the tools used in the shop – tools like engine lathes, milling machines, drill presses, and computer numerical controlled machines. That interest, and encouragement from a coworker, led Lohse to enroll in a CNC machining technical diploma program at NWTC.

Initially nervous at the thought of college, Lohse quickly became comfortable in NWTC’s labs and classrooms.

“I was always intimidated by college because I had trouble with tons of homework, and sitting at a desk all day didn’t appeal to me,” said Lohse. “The classes I’m taking at NWTC have some homework, but not what I was expecting.”

“Everything is in class, hands-on,” Lohse added. “I get to make it and see my results. Personally, I love doing this hands-on type of work.”

As Lohse’s confidence in college continues to grow, so does her positive outlook on the future. She is currently working full time as a CNC setup technician and machine operator at the same machine shop where she got her start. She is set to graduate from NWTC in May 2024.

“My goals are to move up and get better at my job,” Lohse said. “I want to be the person in the shop who can read programs and do stuff like I have been doing it all my life. I want to become as valuable as I can by learning and taking in as much information as I can and being the best I can.”

What would Lohse tell others considering CNC machining and NWTC for their future?

“It is a really great opportunity,” Lohse said. “There is a shortage of all hands-on trades jobs out there, so you can go anywhere. If you don’t enjoy doing the sit-at-the-computer-all-day type of job, and you like hands-on learning, then NWTC is a great place to go.”

Learn more about the CNC Machinist program and the CNC Technician program.

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