Genesee "Drafts" Effective Program to Meet Area's Computer Design Demand

As the demand for skilled computer designers, drafters and mechanical engineers increases over the next five years, the role of the community college takes on greater significance. That's the word from governmental officials who are calling for post secondary institutions to develop drafting and design programs to produce qualified candidates for a growing number of job opportunities.

Community colleges, according to U.S. Secretary Treasurer John Snow, have the flexibility to quickly create education programs to meeting employment needs. "Community colleges are essential to the way our country functions," Snow said recently.

Enter Genesee Community College.Genesee is meeting this need through its comprehensive Computerized Drafting and Design program. It is a two-year Associate in Applied Science (AAS) curriculum that prepares students for a wide range of entry-level positions in the world of design and engineering."Those who complete two years of training at Genesee will have acquired strong technical skills and experience using drafting and CAD (computer aided design) methods," said Dennis Shine, associate professor of drafting. "They will be well qualified for positions such as drafter (in architectural, civil, electrical and mechanical disciplines), junior engineer, CAD operator, estimator and illustrator."

Precision drawings are essential to every thing that is mass-produced, Shine said. Estimates indicate that only about 300,000 men and women work as drafters or designers in the United States, leaving a real shortage of individuals to keep up with the demand.

Richard Currier of Chili (Class of 1987), a former Batavian, is a mechanical engineer for LaserMax in Rochester. He designs laser gun sights for the military and law enforcement.

Currier is one of hundreds of Genesee graduates who have gone on to successful careers. "My two years of study at Genesee gave me the foundation for what I needed to succeed in this field," Currier said. "Compared to a number of people I know with four-year degrees in other fields, I make awesome money. And in drafting, there are always job openings out there."

Shine said that drafting careers are embedded in the engineering fields requiring technical drawing skills needed for the architectural and mechanical areas. "Students in the Computerized Drafting and Design program work with the design team environment," he said.

The nation's leading engineers are strong proponents of the team approach.

"Most engineering programs today are focused on creative problem solving and interdisciplinary research," said Tony DiGioia, a Design News Special Achievement Award winner in 2004.

With class sizes limited to 24 students, Genesee's program ensures that students get a hands-on learning experience with exposure to a wide variety of software and computer equipment, Shine said.

"By utilizing two drafting labs - a manual lab for planning activities of large projects and a CAD lab -- students receive the fundamentals of mechanical drafting and computerized drafting techniques," Shine explained.

The CAD lab is networked with Pentium PCs and high resolution monitors loaded with industrial level software such as AutoCAD 2005, Inventor 9, Architectural Desktop, Autodesk Map 3D, Autodesk Land, Solidworks, Pro-Engineer and Microsoft Office.

Genesee drafting and design students are able to move beyond the classroom by participating in cooperative work experience with about a dozen industries in the GLOW region, including Chapin Manufacturing, Amada Tool America, Inc., and Benderson Development.

For those seeking a bachelor's degree, Genesee has transfer articulation agreements with Rochester Institute of Technology, Buffalo State College and several other four-year institutions. A TOP (Technology Opportunity Pathway) scholarship is available for full-time students enrolled in the Computerized Drafting and Design program.For more information about the program, contact Shine at 585-343-0055, ext. 6630 or at dgshine@genesee.edu.

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