Two High School students learning Precision Machining in Central Maine

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 8:36 PM EDT
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WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - Behind these walls at the Mid-Maine Technical Center, high school students from Waterville and surrounding towns are able to learn a variety of career skills including criminal justice, emergency services, and Precision Machining, which is still a male dominated industry.

Inside the hands-on classroom, Emma Wiswell of Messalonskee High School is getting ready to work on her blueprint to create a metal cylinder.

”We work with thousandths, so that is like your human hair. If you took it, it is like three thousandths, so it is very easy to break apart,”Wiswell said.

Like most of any work that involves machinery, she has to be focused.

”I mean, if you lose focus and make a dumb mistake, you could end up hurting the machine or hurting someone else,” she said.

Though she’s still in high school, she’s one of the two women enrolled in the program.

”I really liked the making your own thing from scratch, watching something go from raw stock to a finished part was really cool,” Wiswell said

Alonna Carreros of Winslow High School is the other. Her blueprint on this day is for a metal bar.

”I go over it like this, then I go down and over,” Carreros said.

Carreros hopes to work for Kennebec Technology, where both women completed their eight week internship program. Their manager says they would love to have them back.

”I don’t understand why machining is as male dominated as it is. It doesn’t need to be. Women can absolutely do this work.” Virgian Dixon, HR manager at Kennebec Technologies said.

The metal pieces the students create go to local businesses,”

Craft parts, airplane engine parts, automotive parts,” Darrin Morgan, instructor at Mid Maine Technology Center said.

Carreros says she hopes to break the stereotypes that limit what a woman can or cannot do.

”I mean, I definitely get that kind of, ooh, you are doing that? I feel like you should be doing something where you get to be out there, but it’s like, if I know how to do it and I’m good at it, why not do it?” Carreros asked.

Wiswell says other women should give it a try.

”Don’t be scared. Don’t be afraid to be the only female there. You’re going to rock it, and it is going to be great,” said Wiswell.