JobsNOW: CNC machinists play vital role in the Valley

CNC machining stands for "Computer Numeric Control"

One lifeline to jobs in the Mahoning Valley is manufacturing. There are many things made here that get used locally or shipped around the world.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – One lifeline to jobs in the Mahoning Valley is manufacturing. There are many things made here that get used locally or shipped around the world.

The CNC machinist plays an important role in that manufacturing.

CNC machining stands for “Computer Numeric Control.” The heavy machinery does the work, but the machinist needs a good math, geometry — and even science — background.

“If you’re the guy that sees the picture hanging crooked and you have to straighten it out, you have some of the qualities that go into a good machinist,” said Brilex Machining Manager Jason Jones.

The machinist studies blueprints, engineering plans, materials, specifications and more. It all goes into producing parts and tools from metal and other materials.

Carbide tooling does the cutting since the average part weighs thousands of pounds. And the fit for the part has to be within half of the width of a human hair.

At Brilex Industries in Youngstown, its workers have made parts to hop up the jumbotron at the Dallas Cowboys stadium; parts for a Navy submarine; and even the housing for an 800,000 volt circuit breaker. Plus parts will soon be taken to Disney for a new ride.

“They start on these smaller parts, get familiar,” Jones said. “We move them up to the medium-size parts. And then the goal is eventually they’ll be on 120-ton parts, which has the coolness factor to it.”

CNC training is done at most trade schools, but students quickly learn it’s not just a push-button operation.

Companies like Brilex make medium and large size 1-off fabrications. They’re looking to bring in the next group of machinists.

“The theory is if you hire them on, you can move them to bigger and bigger machines,” said Ryan Engelhardt, Brilex plant manager.  “And more complex parts as time goes on — as they build up the skill-sets we’re looking for.”

That experience can ultimately lead to a six-figure job. You could also branch off and inspect parts to validate them.

The CNC machinist is a vital role in the Mahoning Valley.

“I don’t see manufacturing going away,” Englehardt said. “And as long as there’s manufacturing in Mahoning Valley, there’s going to be a need for CNC machinists here. We make parts that are up to 120 tons — it’s hard to ship them far.”

Check out Brilex’s official website here, where you can apply to the company.

For more available jobs and information on the industry, visit


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