MADE IN NEVADA: Machinist jobs in high demand

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) -- A high-paying job in demand across northern Nevada requires two years of training or less.

Sheila McCoy at a work party early in her career

Right now there are hundreds of openings for machinists. Sheila McCoy has held this position at CGI Inc. in Carson City for 34 years; she now works as a manager.

"I take pride in treating people on an individual basis. Everyone is not the same, so what would make one have a better relationship with that person," said Sheila.

She motivates people who run machines worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just one mistake can cost the company thousands of dollars, but mistakes with her crew are extremely rare because she is very detail-oriented and this makes her a great asset to the company where she works.

She runs her own machine. She has made thousands and thousands of parts in her career. One was used on one of NASA's shuttles.

"I'm like, I did that? It's going in something that helps somebody or benefits them in some kind of way, so that really makes me feel good," Sheila said.

To understand Sheila we have to turn back the years to her early 20s, when she moved from her mother's home in southern California. She didn't have a car so she had to find a job she could walk to. The local unemployment office connected her with "deburring," and that's what she did-- she buffed parts with a brush to deburr them. She kept the job even though she had long nails at the time.

She says the job paid her bills so she kept going and then a machinist job opened up.

"It just kept going from there. The more I did the more I took on," Sheila said.

This was back in the late '70s when it was extremely rare for women to work in this industry, but Sheila says this career started calling to her from very early on.

"The more I went the more I liked it. I mean I was programming. I was setting up. I was helping people. Then I was leading people," she recalled.

One step at a time. One achievement at a time. Little by little. Sheila built her career to where it stands today, and now she has advice to others who are considering the path she now enjoys. "You never know until you try it. It's not something I dreamed about as a little girl. Actually, I wanted to be a nurse."

Sheila says it's rare for women to go into this field, but says to all women, there is a place for you. "You know what, ladies. Go for it. You can do this, believe it or not; you can do this."

There are more machinist jobs than business owners can fill, and for the right person who likes to work with hands and needs a job, this opportunity is available across northern Nevada.

CGI Inc is filling 12 machinists positions. It's offering five scholarships to Western Nevada College and five scholarships to Truckee Meadows Community College. CGI is also looking to hire two engineers and a sales manager.

Click here to learn how you can apply.