New desktop mill allows instructors to demonstrate needed skills

The Precision Manufacturing and Machining Technology (PMMT) program at Northwest recently acquired a new device that will allow them to demonstrate to potential students one of the skills they will need to succeed in the program and in the industry.

The PMMT program has a new desktop Computer Numerical Control (CNC) mill from Leading Edge Industries that is portable enough to be taken on site for demonstrations, according to PMMT instructors Jeff Covington and Jim Gilliam.

The purpose of a CNC mill is to use a computer design to produce a part that is needed for the industry. “The cut is very precise, accurate and repeatable. You can get the same product every time, assuming everything is programmed correctly,” Covington said.

The PMMT program in the classroom utilizes several standard size mills for instruction in both the PMMT classes and in workforce classes. The desktop version allows instructors to demonstrate the machine off site at job fairs, recruiting events and even to industry, Gilliam said. “This is one of the main machines they need to learn to use in our classes,” Gilliam said.

Northwest acquired the new mill as part of its Workforce Solutions Team’s outreach efforts to promote the college’s technical expertise and training opportunities. “As ‘the’ training provider for northwest Mississippi, we provide our students with the skills that help local employers competitively succeed in a global marketplace,” said Dwayne Casey, associate dean of Workforce Development and Manufacturing Programs.

The program has excellent employability rates, allowing graduates to find good paying jobs in local industry, Covington added. According to the Northwest bulletin, PMM Technology is an instructional program that prepares individuals to manufacture metal parts on machines such as lathes, grinders, drill presses, milling machines, and CNC equipment. Included is instruction in making computations related to work dimensions, testing, feeds, and speeds of machines; using precision measuring instruments such as layout tools, micrometers, and gauges; machining and heat-treating various metals; and laying out machine parts. Also included is instruction in the operation and maintenance of computerized equipment.

A student successfully completing the technical program, that includes core academic classes will receive an Associate of Applied Science degree. Students in the program will complete NIMS credentialing. Students who complete the first 30 hours of the program can receive a career certificate, and those who complete an additional 16 hours of instruction will receive a technical certificate.

Gilliam and Covington plan to debut the new mill at the DeSoto Career Expo, which is scheduled to take place October 16 and 17 at the Landers Center in Southaven. According to the DeSoto County Economic Development Council, the first annual “Pathways2Possibilities” DeSoto Career Expo will be an interactive, hands-on technical career fair for all DeSoto County eighth graders. “We are excited to partner with the DeSoto Council for this inaugural career expo. So much of our focus is working with local employers in the manufacturing and transportation/distribution/logistics pathways. The Expo will be a wonderful way for the students to experience, firsthand, the great career opportunities that are right in their back yards,” said Douglas Freeze, assistant director of Workforce Development.

For more information on the PMMT program, visit the college’s website at or contact Covington at or Gilliam at For more information regarding workforce training and related opportunities provided by Northwest’s Workforce Solutions Team, contact Stacy Scott, advanced technology coordinator, at

Pictured: Northwest Mississippi Community College Precision Manufacturing and Machining Technology (PMMT) instructors (l-r) Jim Gilliam and Jeff Covington show off the program’s new Computer Numerical Control (CNC) mill, which is portable enough to be taken on site for demonstrations at career fairs and other events. Northwest’s PMMT program has a great employability rate where graduates are able to find good paying jobs in local industry. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo) 



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