A fitting solution

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Millwrights, machinists have opportunities for growth

If you enjoy precision work and problem solving, then a career as a millwright or a machinist might be the perfect fit. Local industry offers ongoing career opportunities for trained, mechanically inclined and skilled applicants.

“The demand in Brazoria County is very high in the millwright/machinist craft,” said Jim Slick, Brazosport College Professor of Machine Technology. “With the existing $45 billion expansion and the number of older craftsmen retiring from local chemical plants, many new employees will be needed to maintain the rotating equipment. Because of this, the Brazoria County Petrochemical Association has designated these crafts as critical.”

Brazosport College offers a two-year degree, a basic certificate and an advanced certificate. Former students have been successful at refineries and manufacturing sites as maintenance mechanics, millwrights, industrial mechanics and industrial mechanic technicians.


“Our program introduces the student to the mechanical craft of machinery repair,” Slick said. “Due to the many types of machinery in industry, these courses will guide students in the repair of simple to complex machinery and develop their analytical skills to determine the cause of failure and the correct remedy for repair.”

The classes are more than hands-on courses, as the student not only masters eye-to-hand dexterity and coordination, but also conceptual and critical thinking with exposure to algebra, geometry and calculus. It’s also an occupation that is in demand worldwide, which offers even more security.

“I really believe this is an exciting time for students entering this craft,” Slick said. “There is a huge demand and these are jobs that not only pay well, but are also stable. It allows the student the opportunity to live in this area, stay around family and friends and become productive citizens.”

Career Facts

9_Millwright_2015_0127Machine Technology/Millwright
A machinist produces precision metal parts and a millwright or industrial mechanic maintains and installs machinery and heavy equipment used in many industries.

Who is a good fit?
Machinists and millwrights enjoy precision work and are skilled in solving problems. They usually have knowledge of materials, machines, tools and mathematics.

Training for millwrights and machinists usually range from a two-year associate degree to vocational schools or certificates. Brazosport College offers basic and advanced certificates and a two-year associate degree program.

Median pay
$21.99 hourly; $46,000 annual.

Job outlook
Job opportunities for millwrights are expected to grow by 8.8 percent over the next four years. Thirty percent of millwrights are over the age of 55 and will probably retire soon.

Source: Career Coach (Brazosport.edu/CareerCoach)

* Median wages and job outlook data collected for millwrights.

Student Success Story – Brian Loeb

Millwright field a perfect choice for BC student

After his career in the automobile racing industry came to an end a few years ago, Brian Loeb found himself in the daunting position of needing a job. However, Brian did have one big advantage when seeking employment: He has a talent for working with his hands.

So, he became a millwright.

“Ever since I was young I’ve been blessed with the ability to do mechanical things,” Brian said. “I’ve just always had an aptitude for it. I’ve worked in different industries and I just didn’t have as much satisfaction outside the mechanical realm.”

As a millwright for McGill Maintenance, Brian has discovered another trade that utilizes his greatest assets.

Brian Loeb

Brian Loeb

“I originally worked in the automobile realm,” he added. “As a millwright, it’s not the same thing, but it’s not that different either. You’re working on different things but the principles are the same.”

Brian, 38, is now taking classes at Brazosport College to increase his knowledge of the millwright field. He’s also planning to take machine technology classes in the future. With the training he’s received through his employer and Brazosport College, Brian recently competed in the National Craft Championships and earned a bronze medal in the millwright division.

“Getting in the door and being a millwright is an excellent opportunity,” Brian said. “It’s a job that can be fulfilling in and of itself, but it can also be a stepping stone to a wide variety of things. Once you get in the door, then all those opportunities start to present themselves. It’s nice to have an opportunity for growth.”

For Brian, the millwright program at BC is a fantastic opportunity to advance his skills in a career with a bright future.

“Brazosport College is an excellent opportunity for the young and old,” he said. “We can take classes after work and it’s close to home,” Brian said. “ The classes have hands-on training that prepares you for the workforce. There’s a lot of satisfaction in this type of work. It’s the hands-on workers that makes our world work.”

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