CADD Looks Good for the Future

The Computer Aided Drafting and Design Program (CADD) at Ashland Community and Technical College prepares students for a growing job field.

There are jobs in the region right now, said Instructor Tyler Stevens. We have employers in the Ashland area who are looking for qualified CADD employees, and good jobs are waiting for our successful graduates.

Stevens is excited about the program not only because of the local job outlook but because he has come full circle from student to teacher.

A 2008 West Carter High School graduate, he transferred more than 20 dual credits from his high school to ACTC. He graduated with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in drafting in three semesters and worked for Marathon for six years.

Stevens wanted more time for his family and started teaching at ACTC this fall. This is a good program, covering the basics of mechanical and architectural drafting, and I can bring real world experience to the classroom, he said.

The CADD program combines technical drafting with a graphic design component. Students learn the graphic language for composing technical drawings that are used in any setting involving design, including manufacturing, engineering, architecture and construction.

Tristan L. Griffith, a 2014 Boyd County High School graduate, knew he needed a college education in order to have a viable career. His father Jason Sturgeon, an ACTC Respiratory Therapy graduate working at Three Rivers Medical Center, was one of his family members who encouraged him to come to the college.

I picked CADD as a field because I found that problem solving came naturally in my high school classes, and I enjoyed the rendering side of the work, Griffith said. I started with the idea that I would eventually have to move to a bigger city for a job, so that idea of having local jobs available is great.

Drafters transform the specifications of designers or engineers into complete and precise drawings of a finished product, whether it is a house, industrial machine, pipeline or spacecraft.

Students can prepare for jobs as an architectural, mechanical or computer assisted drafter or a detailer for architectural, mechanical, civil, structural and electrical engineering firms.

Student Channing P. Keyser hopes to work as a drafter for an engineering company or local industry. He is a 2005 Russell High School graduate who decided to come back to school after working eight years in construction.

I attended one semester at ACTC in 2005 before going to work, and its time to finish what I started, he said. Im preparing for a good career. Eventually he would like to go on for a Bachelors Degree in engineering.

The CADD program offers a diploma and certificates in Drafter Assistant, Detailer, and Computer Assisted Drafter. Students can add general education courses to earn as Associate of Applied Science Degree in General Occupational/Technical Studies.

"Our graduates are well prepared for CADD jobs for several reasons," Stevens said. "They get a foundation in drafting fundamentals and engineering graphics, they learn the industry standards of practice for creating technical drawings, and they work with the latest available software.

Students can enter the program without computer or drawing experience. They just need the willingness to learn traditional technical drawing techniques as well as the current automated techniques provided by computers.

The future looks good for CADD, Stevens said. The explosion of 3D printing will open up many new CADD employment possibilities in the future. He and Associate Professor Chris Boggs will take a 3D printing course next semester so that they will be ready to offer 3D printing classes in fall 2016.

For more information on the CADD program and spring classes, email Tyler Stevens, tstevens0025@kctcs.edu.

I would recommend ACTC to anyone who is working and looking for a new career, said Keyser. The teachers are very good, they are respectful of whatever you ask and will go out of their way to help you.