Several students have graduated from the FLCC-G.W. Lisk training program.

CLIFTON SPRINGS — Dominic Ortiz’s life recently took a turn that he could not have imagined upon graduation from Newark High School in 2015.

Ortiz, 19, was among 12 students who graduated from the Finger Lakes Community College-G.W. Lisk Co. advanced manufacturing machinist training program during a ceremony March 30 at Warfield’s Restaurant.

After high school, Ortiz worked as a dishwasher at Parker’s Restaurant before moving on to Red Jacket Central School, where he worked as a janitor. His mother, Nelly DeVelder of Newark, heard about the machinist program at a Newark Chamber of Commerce meeting and felt it would provide her son with a good-paying career with the promise of advancement.

Ortiz, who lives in Newark, admitted he needed a “decent amount of convincing” to start the six-month program last September.

Students learn through classroom and hands-on instruction how to use machine tools to make precision components for the automotive, aerospace, medical and other industries. Machinists are in high demand in the Rochester area, and modern machining requires training in the use of computer-controlled equipment, technical math and metrology, the study of measurement.

Youths like Ortiz are also sought after as baby-boom generation machinists reach retirement age.

“In the beginning it was tough” he said, but the G.W. Lisk instructor, Dave Phillips, took the time to answer his questions. “He does such a great job at what he does. I think I’ve gotten better at math than in high school.”

Ortiz and nine other graduates were immediately hired by G.W. Lisk, with two others opting to take jobs at Five Star Equipment in Rochester and Badge Machine Products in Canandaigua.

Now, Ortiz has traded mopping floors for making precision components at one of Ontario County’s 10 largest private-sector employers. He is looking forward to getting settled on the job and taking advanced training to move up in the machining industry.

For another graduate, Norman Deets II of Rochester, the machinist program provided a way to advance within G.W. Lisk.

Deets graduated from FLCC’s 12-week mechatronic technology program in May 2015. The training gained him a foot in the door as an assembler in the company’s military assembly section. Deets continued working while enrolled in the machinist program and is now manufacturing parts that are routed to his old department.

“Norman is a great example of what we call ‘laddering,’ or taking a short class to learn the basics, getting a job, and then enrolling in more advanced programs to improve skills and move higher,” said Marcy Lynch, FLCC director of workforce development.

FLCC runs two machinist classes each year, one starting in the fall at G.W. Lisk and one starting in the spring at ITT Goulds Pumps in Seneca Falls. The next machinist class starts in September 2017. To get on the list for notification of enrollment, contact Andrea Badger, FLCC custom training specialist, at 585-785-1906 or

FLCC currently has grant funding available to cover full tuition for young people between 18 and 29, veterans, and dislocated workers. The grant funding can be used for the advanced manufacturing machinist program or the shorter mechatronics technology program that Deets completed to get his start.


Other graduates

Graduates of the Finger Lakes Community College-G.W. Lisk training program include: Randy Antonetty of Manchester; Jay Barbera and Brian Wiedrick of Newark; Thomas Burlingame of Bloomfield; Kyle Gibbs of Shortsville; Jeffrey Kelsey of Canandaigua; Thomas Mincer of Clifton Springs; Kevin Nelson of Webster; Dalton Schaubert of Rushville; and Michael Wasson of Lyons.