May 17, 2024

Amrit Singh stood proud and tall when he received his hard-earned certificate in Computer Numeric Control from Great Bay Community College during commencement exercises on May 11.

Singh has been working toward the certificate since he enrolled in 2021, taking classes while working full time and supporting his family. Singh, who came to the United States from India in 2017, also had to overcome a language barrier. He was learning English while earning his certificate.

“At first, I had a hard time understanding the language and some of the technical words. But the instructors are so good. They gave me special time and easy words that I could understand,” said Singh, who expressed gratitude to the college for working with him on his schedule. “They made it very comfortable for me, and they always took their time to explain things for me. I asked so many questions, and I was always encouraged to ask questions.”

At the suggestion of a work supervisor, Singh enrolled at Great Bay to improve his technical skills and employment opportunities. A burgeoning field, CNC is used in manufacturing to automate the control, movement, and precision of machine tools, which operate on preprogrammed software. CNC operators can work in a variety of fields across industries.

Singh, 52, who lives in Newmarket, is currently employed at Parker-Hannifin in Kittery, Maine, which makes pneumatic products and systems. The company is ceasing operations this fall, and Singh is preparing for the next phase of his career. Through the certificate program at Great Bay, he has a lead for job in the region’s aerospace industry.

He is excited about his future and grateful for the support he received from Great Bay to improve his career path. “CNC is a good career. Precise machining is only possible with CNC, and precise machining is the key to the future of manufacturing across industries,” Singh said.

From the time he was a teenager, Singh has been adept with technology and comfortable with technological changes. And he’s always embraced education. “If you have learning capabilities, then you can learn something new every day,” he said. “For every new problem, there is a new solution.”

He admits that learning new technologies while also become adept with a new language was a particularly daunting challenge. At times, he almost gave up, but was encouraged by both his instructors at Great Bay and his supervisor at work. “They gave me confidence, and I knew it would be good for my future. So I said, ‘I will try.’”

Singh recommends the Great Bay program to anyone who wants to plan a career in manufacturing. The program can be completed in as little as two semesters. The first semester starts with 8-week courses dedicated to foundational knowledge, followed by hands-on operation of milling and turning machines. The second semester focuses on computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), coordinated measuring machines (CMM), and more.

Singh appreciated all aspects of the curriculum, while highlighting his ability to watch recorded lectures as a plus for his ability to overcome the challenges he faced understanding English.

He also said his ability to work in the field while studying helped him succeed both in school and at his job. “I am working in CNC now, so I am getting both the practical training and the theoretical training simultaneously,” he said. “There are some things you need practical knowledge for and something you get from the books.”