Machinist, Shop Techical Specialist I-III (4966)

Crafts / Trades Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is a diverse and prestigious research facility that plays a vital role in the study of the universe. The Observatory is an exciting and dynamic organization that is pushing the boundaries of our understanding of the universe. Whether you are a scientist, student, or simply someone who is fascinated by the cosmos, the NRAO offers a wealth of opportunities to learn, explore, and discover


NRAO is recruiting a Machinist/Shop Technical Specialist to support the Very Large Array (VLA) Machine Shop. Under direct supervision, the Shop Technical Specialist performs setup and operation of manual and CNC machine tools and/or welding equipment including part fixturing and setup. Generally works from prints and detailed sketches and those with more experience will work more independently. Performs routing maintenance incidental to operation of machines and equipment. 


The position is based at the VLA, 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico. 


What You will be Doing

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Sets up, adjusts and operates a variety of precision tool room equipment including but not limited to mill, lathe and CNC machines.
  • Interprets blueprints, sketches and drawings.
  • Produces parts from a variety of raw materials.
  • Must be able to meet specified tolerances.
  • Understands and uses a variety of precision measuring equipment.
  • Produces all types of surface finishes, as directed.
  • Uses a variety of chemicals including solvents and dyes.
  • Works closely with other department members, Technicians and Engineers, as directed.
  • Documents changes necessitated during fabrication.
  • Teach and lead other Shop Technicians/Trainees.
  • Works within and meets established deadlines.
  • Uses CAD/CAM software and performs CNC programming as required.
  • Proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures in own work area is expected.
  • Other duties as assigned.



Work Environment

While performing the duties of this job, the employee works primarily indoors in a shop, but maybe required to do occasional work outside in the field. The employee may be required to work in high places, near moving mechanical parts and electrical equipment. Work is performed at a high altitude (7000 ft.) environment.  Must be able to work in a high noise area with PPE.


Who Are You:


  • You have a high school diploma or GED.
  • While not required, you may have an advanced degree in closely related field.
  • You have at least two or more years of relevant experience with. Applicants with five or more years of related technical experience may be considered for higher grade classifications within the job family.


Competency Summary

Strong verbal communication skills are necessary for effective consultations with coworkers and the ability to participate effectively as a member of a team. Must be able to use the NRAO online time reporting and requisition system.  Ability to read and interpret documents such as schematics, blueprints, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.


Physical Demands

Work typically takes place in a machine shop or other specialized shop, employees may be occasionally required to work elsewhere. Required to stand and sit; use hands to handle or feel objects, tools, or controls; and reach with hands or arms. Regularly works near moving mechanical parts. Occasionally is required to climb or balance; and stoop, kneel, crouch. Able to work with a variety of chemicals. Must occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Must be able to communicate clearly and in writing. Specific vision requirements include close vision, distance vision, color and depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.


Safety Sensitive

The selected candidate must successfully pass a post-offer, pre-employment/pre-placement drug screen.  Failure to pass the Screen will disqualify the candidate from employment consideration for a period of six months from the date of the results.


Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button. Please be prepared to upload your current CV/Resume and a cover letter describing interest and suitability for the position.


Total Rewards:


The NRAO offers a comprehensive total rewards package for this position, subject to eligibility requirements. We are committed to serving our employees and their families with an extensive and competitive compensation and benefits package that supports our employees’ overall well-being and career growth.



The NRAO strives to attract and retain dedicated, highly qualified, competent, and motivated employees by offering competitive compensation and recognition for performance.


Factors which may affect starting pay may include; education, experience, skills, competencies, other qualifications of the successful candidate, as well as internal equity and labor market conditions. 



NRAO’s benefits package addresses the needs of employees and their families with most benefits beginning on the first day of employment. NRAO provides excellent paid time off (13 holidays, annual accrual of up to 24 vacation days and 15 sick days, additional time off for doctor/dentist visits, and 8 weeks of paid parental leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the first day of employment. NRAO’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay with no required employee contribution; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


AUI is an equal opportunity employer. Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply. To view our complete statement, please visit If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to [email protected]. PM20