Machinist, Shop Technical Specialist II-III (4828)

Crafts / Trades Socorro, New Mexico



Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is committed to maintaining the world’s most accomplished observatories while developing new technology to enable further research in radio astronomy. NRAO is recruiting Machinists/Shop Technical Specialists to support the 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. Performs routing maintenance incidental to operation of machines and equipment. 


The position is based at the VLA, 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico.  In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. NRAO’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Job Duties Summary

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.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

High school diploma or GED


Minimum Experience

Five or more years of related technical experience.


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.


Additional Requirement

The Observatory requires staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to access our facilities.  An offer of employment will be considered contingent until the selected applicant provides proof of vaccination.  A selected applicant may request consideration for an accommodation for a disability or for a sincerely held religious belief.


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:


Click the “Apply” button below.  You will need to be prepared to upload your current CV/Resume and a letter of application describing interest and suitability for the position.


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