Before teaching Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) at Penn Commercial, Wesley Briant spent 24 years in the drafting industry running his own business, designing for clients in the residential sector. But working by himself – while he loved the work he did – it provided little interaction with others. So after more than two decades as a successful drafter, he decided to get into teaching. His passion for architectural design, drawing blueprints, and mechanical drafting is evident in each class he teaches. Briant finds it fulfilling to be able to pass his knowledge on to a new generation of drafters.
“I wanted to change it up and do something where I was a little more interactive with other people,” Briant explains. “Doing something a little more rewarding than just drawing houses for a living.”
Briant has been teaching classes in the CADD Program for about five years. As the lead instructor, his goal is to provide students with the skills and knowledge to help them succeed in the industry. Students who enroll in the CADD Program learn the many different disciplines and trades, along with various CAD software so they have a well-rounded skillset and can work immediately upon graduation.
“The industries that students can expect to get into would be civil – dealing with road construction, bridges, those sorts of things. Architecture, working on buildings, structures, residential and commercial. There’s mechanical positions out there with machine shops where you’re working with parts and pieces that you have to design for manufacturing. RTIS, which is also like a mapping program that we teach here.”
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“In the civil field, the Marcellus Shale gas well companies have brought a lot of work in, laying out where pipes are going to go, where existing farms are, where the need to cut through, that kind of stuff. They lay out topos (topographical maps) for that. That’s a big industry here.”
Near the end of their education at Penn Commercial, CADD students get the opportunity to work for businesses in the industry as an externship.
“At the last semester of the course, the students go on an externship where they are placed out in the field for their final 12 weeks. We try to get them positions where they have a job opportunity that they’re going to be offered whenever they’re done. They typically are able to interview with three or four different places so they have some options on where they want to go based on what they learned in the program, and what they like to do. There’s a lot of opportunities in the drafting field.”
“I can prepare students to go back into the industry and become drafters themselves, and they’re able to provide for a family. It’s a good field to get into. I really believe it’s something that if you enjoy it, and you’re willing to put in the effort, it can actually be a lucrative field to be in.”
The 18-month CADD program awards an Associate in Specialized Technology Degree. It offers a reliable path for students to blend their creative and technical interests. Drafters use software like CAD and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to turn the architect’s or engineer’s views into detailed plans.
As students in the computer-aided drafting and design program, they will be exposed to the knowledge and skills it takes to help them succeed as CAD drafters and bring innovative visions to life. Coursework includes 2D and 3D modeling, technical, mechanical and engineering drawings, topographical mapping, geometric design and instruction on various CAD and graphic computer software.
For more information about the CADD Program, visit our webpage here.