MADE IN NEVADA: Machinist jobs in high demand

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MOUND HOUSE, Nev. (KOLO) -- Business leaders say they can't find enough qualified machinists to earn between $15 and $40, which is the hourly wage Vineburg Machining in the Carson City area.

President and CEO Gerd Poppinga says he has three machinist positions he would like to fill.

JOIN Executive Director Denise Castle says there are 425 available positions for machinists across northern Nevada as of April 2018.

"One of the major issues over the next few years is that the baby boomers are retiring faster than we can replenish," wrote Poppinga in an email to KOLO 8 News Now.

Luis Madrid says loves his job. He's a machinist at Vineburg Machining in Mound House, which is a few miles northeast of Carson City.

Luis manufactures high-end parts used by companies such as Google, Schlage Locks and U.S. Ordnance.

"I love that out of nothing, a piece of metal, we can make something meaningful for so many people," said Luis.

He has some of the best tools at his disposal, such as a 5-axis machine. He programs a computer to make essentially anything out of a piece of metal just as Michelangelo chiseled the statue of David from a huge slab of marble.

"We don't have enough people. The future looks pretty bright because there are a lot of opportunities," Luis said.

Luis says he enjoys going to work, but for him his job is also about his family. He says he loves wife Magaly Sanchez along with his daughters Maya and Valere. "My family is my life. I enjoy to be with them every moment," said Luis.

KOLO 8 News Now's Noah Bond talked with Magaly about what her husband's income means for their growing family. "We actually purchased our own first home. So we're homeowners for 2 years now. We paid off all the debt," she said.

"It's good. I don't have to worry about too many things," Luis said about his job.

Luis and Magaly can focus on the women their young girls will become because they don't have debt beyond a house payment.

"We try to give them everything we didn't have, you know, putting them in sports. Open their minds to let them know they have options. Letting them know they can do so much more than we ever did. We are even starting to save money for college for them as well. So it has definitely been a blessing," Magaly continued.

To be clear, she works too, which financially helps this young family.

Luis is 28 years old now. He grew up in Mexico City and didn't know or speak any English. He was often seen playing soccer with his cousins or at family gatherings.

He moved to Dayton with his mother when he was 18 years old and that's when he learned to speak English. He worked at El Pollo Loco in Carson City for four years. He enrolled in manufacturing classes at Western Nevada College because he wanted a better life. Vineburg Machining Manager Sven Klatt teaches courses at the school and offered Luis the job he has today.

"Do you have an associate degree?" asked KOLO 8 News Now's Noah Bond. "Not yet," replied Luis. "Tell me about the process of getting that," said Noah. "I have to go back and take my English. My history, math. pretty much have my basics of machining," Luis said.

Vineburg Machining hired Luis when he only had about 20 credits from WNC in Carson City. He remembers the moment he first walked into the warehouse.

"It was like awesome to see the machines that they have. I have never seen a 5-axis machine before," said Luis.

Promotions and pay are based on performance.

"Improve everyday. Show them that you'll be able to do real things. Challenge yourself," said Luis.

He's taking a break from school now, but plans to return to WNC next semester to earn his associate degree. He has a solid career with room for growth, a beautiful happy family, and a fulfilling life, and it was all made possible in part by his career path.

There are 35 openings for a $300,000 learn-and-earn advance career pathway grant, otherwise known as LEAP, to help pay for training, and it's available right now. The main focus is to help Hispanic workers, but people of all races can apply. Call 775-784-1095 and ask for Karla Hernandez for help.

Click here for the latest information about job openings and opportunities across northern Nevada, or you can call 775-461-3930. The link will also help you find career exploration opportunities, and find resources to help you pay for post-secondary education and counselors who can pinpoint job openings in our area. You can also get help to plan a path to a job certification or degree after high school.

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