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NEWS | Nov. 17, 2021

Machining and the Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM)

By Jason Scarborough, Public Affairs Specialist Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) is always looking for ways to improve its manufacturing processes while educating the workforce and becoming more proficient in repairing and modernizing our Navy’s warships and training platforms.

A recent example of how NNSY is doing this today is through the Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM) Program. This program is specifically designed to help adult learners with varying educational and workplace experiences earn the skills necessary to make an immediate impact as a machinist within NNSY. The ATDM curriculum is a 16-week program designed to give machinists the skills and nationally recognized credentials  needed for the shipyard and throughout the industry to improve their processes.

ATDM is a pilot project to test and evaluate a prototype training platform for rapidly training skilled workers in key areas of employment, such as computer numerical control (CNC) machining. CNC machining is a manufacturing process in which pre-programmed computer software dictates the movement of factory tools and machinery. The process can be used to control a range of complex machinery, from grinders and lathes to mills and CNC routers. With CNC machining, three-dimensional cutting tasks can be accomplished in a single set of prompts.

Mechanical Group (Code 930) Production Inside Machine Shop Manager Justin Hayden said, “The CNC training provided through the ATDM program in Danville, Va. proved to be very beneficial to our machinists. Currently the Inside Machine Shop does not have any formal CNC training as all CNC learning happens on the job. Although this approach with on-the-job learning does develop machinists, this accelerated ATDM program provides a boost to the development and will help to bring machinists up to speed much faster. We have struggled to maintain enough proficient CNC machinists based on attrition, so this program has the potential to bridge that gap and allow us to increase our numbers at a faster rate. Michael Tanner, a Code 930 machinist, recently completed the program and really enjoyed the opportunity to attend the training and said that he believed it could be a game changer for the shop by increasing productivity.”

ATDM was developed as a public-private grouping between DoD, The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), Danville Community College (DCC), Phillips Corporation, and The Spectrum Group in consultation with the defense industry. IALR, which is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, serves as the lead organization for program implementation. NNSY plans to continue this partnership  with ATDM  to potentially incorporate this 16-week program as a part of the training NNSY provides apprentices.