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Blinn Workforce Education grad finds fulfilling career as certified machinist

Josh Bishop says Blinn helped him discover his passion, gave him skills to succeed


September 23, 2015

Josh BishopThis June, Josh Bishop gave his dad his best Father’s Day gift yet, thanks to Blinn College.

The Turner’s Cube may look like a simple a desk ornament, but to Bishop and his father, it’s a symbol of pride, dedication and a love for mathematics and craftsmanship.

A six-sided object with circular dimensions cut inside it, the Turner’s Cube was once a test for the budding machinist that challenged programing and machinery operation skills. It’s no easy task for a beginner machinist. With every cut, the material weakens. If too much pressure is used, it shatters.

In just one attempt, Bishop mastered the 1-inch cube with the knowledge and skills gained in his manual and computer numerical controlled (CNC) machinist courses at Blinn’s 12,000-square foot A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center in Brenham.

“The whole time I was working on it I was sweating kittens,” Bishop said, laughing. “It was really important to me to complete it because my dad has always loved welding and machinist classes. The fact that I’m a machinist now means a lot to both of us.”

Machinists use specialized tools to make or modify metal and plastic parts by cutting away excess material in much the same way a woodcarver cuts away wood to form a specific shape or design. The Hodde Center course covers mathematics, precision measurement, blueprint reading and manual operation of mills and lathes.

Blinn’s CNC course includes 84 hours of classroom and lab instruction, which covers the basics of running a CNC machine, including tool and work setup, reviewing programs and understanding G and M codes. Students can earn certification by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) on both lathe and mill machines. NIMS sets the industry skill standard and certifies workers’ individual skills.

After earning his certificate through Blinn’s Division of Workforce Education in June, Bishop landed a job at Kent Moore Cabinets in Bryan, where he operates machinery, changes out tools and ensures quality control.

“There’s a night-and-day difference from where I was before to where I am now,” Bishop said. “I’m making a nice living and I have the skills I need to move up, and it’s all because of the instructors and those who invest in workforce education at Blinn.”

Before Bishop came to Blinn, he returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. He bounced between menial jobs and took a college course here and there, but nothing covered his cost of living or ignited his passion.

“I can see my work take shape,” Bishop said. “I can make something that lasts, something that means something and that reflects back on me. I like what I do and I get paid to do it. You can’t ask for more than that.”

The 12,000-square foot A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center was built in 2009 to provide local training for a quality, viable workforce in Washington and the surrounding communities. Its staff works in cooperation with local businesses to provide a well-trained workforce that strengthens the local economy. For more information on the Hodde Center and its course offerings, call 979-830-4443 or visit

About Blinn College
A comprehensive community college committed to educational excellence and to individual and community enhancement, Blinn College has served its 13-county Central Texas region since 1883. With an enrollment of 19,317 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence.

Blinn offers job seekers the skills and credentials they need to succeed in the region’s fast-growing industries, and partners with local businesses to provide skills development training for incumbent employees. Each year, Blinn programs and students make a $345.3 million impact on the local economy.

For more information about Blinn College and exciting student success initiatives such as Destination Success: First-Year Focus and the Blinn TEAM Program, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.