On the Cutting Edge: Fullerton College Machine Tech Student Richard Tallase Student Success Profile

June 28, 2022
Richard Tallase Working at Pro-Tec Knives

It’s one thing to learn the skills a job requires but quite another to actually land the job. But that’s exactly what Fullerton College machine technology student Richard Tallase was able to do with the support of Network Kinection, one of many extra support services being offered by Orange County’s community college career education programs.

After graduating from high school in 2018, Richard Tallase decided to attend Fullerton College because it was near his Brea home and a reasonably priced alternative to a university. He initially considered majoring in graphic design but switched to machining in fall 2021.

“I always liked making things,” Richard says. “I like knives and I wanted to make knives.”

In addition to an A.S. degree in manufacturing technology, Fullerton College’s machine technology program offers six certificates that can be earned after taking specified courses. The program stresses conventional machining skills on engine lathes, milling machines and grinders as core skills, along with CNC machining and CNC programming courses. Mini-certificates (6 units each) can also be earned in industry-standard software programs MasterCam and SurfCam.

Fullerton College’s machining program has more than $1 million in equipment and Richard says he has enjoyed being able to learn his skills by working on the machines.

“I liked that it was very hands on,” he says. “You’re not getting lectured for two hours straight. You get up and participate more. The best way I learn is kinetically. Machining is a great path.”

But like many students, Richard wasn’t sure how to connect that path to an actual job.

Enter Network Kinection, a new job-placement service working with Orange County community college automotive and advanced manufacturing students.

Richard learned about Network Kinection through a presentation to his class about the program and how it connects community college students to employers. Through a Strong Workforce grant, Network Kinection is working with students in the automotive and advanced manufacturing programs at Orange County’s nine community colleges and one continuing education center.

Richard told his Network Kinection caseworker that had seen employment ads posted by Pro-Tech Knives in Placentia, and he knew that’s where he wanted to work.

“I needed help with an interview and creating a resume,” he says. “I was asking for a lot of help and they provided it.”

Network Kinection contacted Pro-Tech on Richard’s behalf and lined up an interview for him. He was hired as a CNC operator in April.

“They definitely did a lot,” he says of the assistance he received from Network Kinection. “It was a team effort.”

In his job, Richard is using the skills he learned at Fullerton College to set up the machines and prepare them to make specific types of knives. He ensures that the knives that the machines create are meeting the high standards of Pro-Tech.

“This is definitely a great work experience,” he says. “It’s good stable work.”

Richard says he plans to continue attending Fullerton College and earn his associate degree in Manufacturing Technology in Machining in Fall 2023. Richard says he’s enjoyed his time at Fullerton College and learning the skills that has led to his career.

“It’s a great place to go if you want to learn machining,” he says. “The instructors are great. They teach you as much as they can. They want you to succeed.”

To learn more about the many career education programs and support services offered by Orange County’s community colleges, visit https://futurebuilt.org/.