By Meg Moss, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
Nick Boggs hasn’t graduated from Central Carolina Community College just yet. But he already has a full-time job. That’s thanks in part to WST Industries for reaching out to the CCCC Computer and Integrated Machining Tool and Die program. In May of 2021, WST was in need of a CNC machinist, and knew that CCCC trained students for that type of work. One call into CCCC’s Machining and Tool and Die Chair, Edwin Thomas was just what Boggs needed to get into the workforce. “I was definitely looking for a job at the time” says Boggs.
“I started out working part time while I was in face-to-face classes at the college. I was going to school and working at WST on alternating days” states Boggs. “WST made it really easy for me to work with my school schedule.” Now, Boggs has been promoted to a full-time position, and only has one more class to obtain his Associates Degree in Science. “I’m taking my last math class online so that I can work full time.”
WST Industries specializes in industrial construction, manufacturing, sustainability, electrical, process piping, CNC machining, equipment relocation, plasma cutting, custom fabrication, engineering, and welding. I was recently touring their facility with Ken Knapp, WST’s Business Development Manager, when he told me about Boggs. “He’s been a tremendous asset on our manufacturing floor.”
“I got interested in metal work because my dad used to own Boggs Auto Body and Collision in Mamers” says Boggs. “I helped him work on the cars.” Boggs wasn’t quite sure if he wanted to specialize in welding or be a machinist, but he quickly needed to make a decision because it was time to enroll in CCCC. He looked at the options the college had to offer, and the Machining and Tool and Die program was where he landed. Boggs graduated from Western Harnett High School in 2019 and was able to go to CCCC through the Harnett Promise Program. “CCCC is definitely a great place to go out of high school. The teachers are so helpful, it’s close to home, and really affordable.”
The Promise Program ensures that all qualifying Chatham, Harnett, and Lee County residents who meet eligibility requirements, and who graduate from a public high school, private school, charter school or homeschool for the years 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 are guaranteed up to two years of free in-state tuition and required fees at CCCC.
CCCC’s Machining and Tool and Die Chair, Edwin Thomas shared that he works with a lot of different industries, placing students in jobs. He is happy to have industries come talk to his students about their job offerings, and he helps make recommendations for students that would meet their needs. In talking about Boggs specifically, Thomas says that “Nick always has a great attitude, and his attendance was top notch. He took school seriously, so he got the most of it. He really made every effort to learn.”
This is not the first time WST has hired a CCCC student. Steven Woody, WST’s Manufacturing Manager, says the partnership with the college has worked out great. “We’re able to hire someone who has already been evaluated and recommended by college instructors.” He indicated that the students who come from the college know good sound machining practices. “We’ve hired one other machinist, and two welders, and they just have a good knowledge base.”
Should your business be interested in hiring a CCCC student, you can reach out to the instructors in your area of work, or you can reach out to Christina Piard, CCCC’s Director of Corporate Outreach at 919-718-7076. A list of program offerings and instructors can be found at www.cccc.edu.