Stark State Students Gain Real-World Skills

Steve and Mike Tornero of Stark State College pride themselves on fully preparing their students to become top-notch CNC programmers and machinists. Part of this preparation is introducing the students to the machines and software they are most likely to use in their jobs. That’s why Stark State uses Mastercam. It is the most commonly used software in the region, and it is easy to learn.


Product Used:

Mill, Mill-Turn, Lathe, Multiaxis, Educational Suite



Students in Stark Machine Shop


Steve Tornero, Industrial Technologies Department Chair and assistant professor at Stark State College, has seen his fair share of students struggling to earn a living wage. The multiple accredited manufacturing programs Stark State offers provides students the chance to pull themselves out of that situation.

Stark State Students Learning Mastercam

“Our student population might be right out of high school, veterans, or someone working at a minimum wage job wanting to learn a new skill. We’re all about trying to give them the skills to get into an entry-level machining job or into some type of apprenticeship or training program,” Steve shared.

Stark State Coaster in Mastercam

Stark State works closely with local manufacturing companies to help develop a curriculum that prepares students for real world manufacturing scenarios. About 50 companies regularly consult with instructors to discuss what students need to know to be successful.

Stark State Coaster

“We communicate on a continual basis with area companies, asking them which competencies they want us to instruct.” Many of their skills suggestions were obvious to Steve: milling, drilling, reaming, threading, tapping, turning, facing, and grooving. He also noted many requested that his students understand how to run Mastercam.

Recognizing the value in arming their students with the most widely used CAD/CAM software in the industry, both Steve and his brother, fellow instructor Mike Tornero, became certified Mastercam instructors by local Reseller, FASTech, Inc. Along with training, they both received instructor books that they now use to outline their courses. “All of our courses are what we would call project-based, where the students actually machine the parts here. A lot of hands-on learning takes place,” said Steve, explaining how the course follows the parts outlined in the instructor book as they become increasingly difficult.

Mike is especially grateful that the machining program uses this software over others. “It’s so prevalent,” he explained. “What I find valuable is the resources on the internet. You can get on YouTube, and there’s pretty much a video for just about anything you want to do.” When he has more specific questions, he knows that he can reach out for support from FASTech.

“I’ve used other software in the past, and this seems to have the best solid modeling capabilities. It seems like other software makes it more difficult to get you the same part that I get pretty quickly and a lot easier in Mastercam,” Mike continued. His students were more than happy to share their favorite features as well. One said that he enjoyed the Mirror operation, one of the transform functions that allows users to rotate planes quickly and easily. Another mentioned that Solid Sweep operations are his favorite because they simplify creating organic shapes.

Mike spent decades in the machining industry before becoming an instructor, and as such, he strongly believes in simulating each part before running it on a machine. He shared that verification is doubly important to students who are still learning. “It takes a lot of the guesswork out of it. There’s also Backplot, and that’s an even quicker way to simulate.”

He instructs his students to use Backplot as they go because the feature will recognize and highlight any potential problems. At the end of programming, he then has his students run Verify so that they can see the entire machining process onscreen and check again for possible mistakes.

Any graduate of Stark’s Industrial Department will leave the campus with NIMS certification and a thorough understanding of the most widely used CAM software for CNC operations. Both Steve and Mike are proud to watch their students succeed in their careers.


Preparing students for the exact challenges they will face in their future careers in CNC machining.


Mastercam, the most widely used CNC software for CAD/CAM operations.


  • Easy to learn and use.
  • The most widely used CAM software in the region.
  • Certified Resellers on hand to solve problems and explain new technologies.
  • Extensive training options, like Mastercam University.
  • Backplot and Verify highlight potential problems before they occur.
  • Advanced solid modeling capabilities.
Customer Quote

“I’ve used other software in the past, and this seems to have the best solid modeling capabilities. It seems like other software makes it more difficult to get you the same part that I get pretty quickly and a lot easier in Mastercam.”

—Mike Tornero, Industrial Technologies Department Instructor, Stark State College, Ohio

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