The East Texas Advanced Manufacturing Academy in Longview no longer just serves area high school students as the campus is adding an adult education class to its catalog.

A basic machine shop course will start Feb. 15, lead instructor Steve Henderson said. It will be a 96-hour course that will meet 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Henderson said the class will teach skills such as reading blueprints and how to set up and operate manual machine tools. Students will learn how to work mechanical machines, not computer-controlled ones.

There is a demand for people with these skills, Henderson said, as companies such as such as Komatsu and STEMCO in Longview need employees with machine skills.

The course costs $350, and registration is open with Kilgore College. The class is a partnership with the college’s continuing education offerings.

The manufacturing academy is a partnership with local high schools that allows students to go to the campus on West South Street for manufacturing classes. The academy also is run by the nonprofit organization Longview Educates and Prospers, which is a Senate Bill 1882 charter partner with Longview ISD.

SB 1882 gives financial incentive to public schools that partner with outside entities to run campuses as charter schools.

The course also is a collaboration with the Longview Chamber of Commerce, according to Kilgore College. The course is part of efforts to fill in gaps with employers and academics.

“These are skillsets that will enable graduates to be qualified for good-paying jobs enabling a good life in our community,” Kelly Hall, president and CEO of the Longview Chamber of Commerce Kelly Hall, said in a statement. “The objective of this collaboration is to grow manufacturing skills to supply capabilities for the existing East Texas industry base, attract new industry and provide students with pathways to industrial jobs that will earn competitive wages.”

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Kristen is the News-Journal's education reporter. A Longview native, she got a journalism degree and a graduate certificate at Texas Tech University. She covers a variety of issues, including school finance, board meetings and happenings at local schools.