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The first graduates of the RCBI Machinist CNC Program in partnership with Southern WV Community and Technical College are, from left, Dewey Spaulding, Jacob Justice, Tracy Spaulding and Dillan Sexton.

WILLIAMSON — Four men are the first to graduate from the Machinist Technology/CNC Program offered in Williamson by the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) and Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, according to a news release.

The first graduates are Jacob Justice of Delbarton, Dillan Sexton of Logan, and brothers Tracy Spaulding and Dewey Spaulding of Dunlow.

Under the instruction of RCBI technical trainer Justin Lowe each individual earned nine National Institute for Metalworking Skills certifications, and together completed 197 Tooling U-SME certifications.

Additionally, the four earned associate degrees in applied science through courses taught at Southern.

“We are particularly proud of these graduates,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director & CEO. “They are the first to complete the program in Williamson, and they did so in the midst of a pandemic! These graduates were persistent and transitioned to online courses and instruction to complete a very hands-on field of study.”

“Offering these courses in Williamson provides skills training opportunities close to home for jobs that are close to home,” said Dr. Pamela L. Alderman, president of Southern. “We are proud to partner with our friends at RCBI and are honored to have been a part of these graduates’ success story.”

RCBI, which annually awards the most NIMS certifications in the state, was the first Machinist/CNC Program in the nation to partner with community and technical colleges to offer a college degree in addition to industry-recognized NIMS credentials.

Machinists use specialized equipment to machine products or parts out of materials including metal, wood, plastics, and composites. They work in the automotive, aerospace, manufacturing and nautical industries, among others.

With increasing numbers of the aging workforce making plans to retire, companies across West Virginia need skilled machinists to fill new positions and openings created by retirements, according to the release.