The following press release was prepared by Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and published by local media here in Caldwell County, North Carolina. We were honored to be part of the education experience for young people going into the engineering trade.
CCC&TI, SCHS, Local Industry Collaborate to Help Students
Explore and Prepare For Engineering Careers
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute has forged partnerships with several local employers to help train current and future employees for available opportunities. A group of South Caldwell High School students and Caldwell Career Center Middle College Students, who are also enrolled in CCC&TI drafting courses, were able to see one of those partnerships at work during a recent field trip to Timber Wolf Forest Products in Hudson.
The students are part of CCC&TI’s Drafting 152 course, which is offered through the Middle College as well as tuition-free and on-site to South Caldwell High School students through Career and College Promise. The course introduces extended Computer Animated Design applications with emphasis placed on using the applications to generate and manage drawings. The course is part of the Mechanical Engineering Pathway that helps prepare students for a variety of careers ranging from engineering and mechanical design to architecture and interior design.
CCC&TI Transition Advisor Mitzi Triplett works with South Caldwell High School students to help them enroll in college courses through Career and College Promise or help them apply and transition to CCC&TI following their senior year. Triplett reached out to CCC&TI Engineering Program Director Susan Deal to help coordinate a field trip for the students so that they could see a true workplace application for the skills they are learning in class. Deal says that she knew from the start that Timber Wolf would be the perfect location to help them connect those dots.
“My intention was to raise the interest and awareness of CCC&TI’s program and to show the students that they are much more than drawing or machine shop. I wanted students to see these skills and concepts in action,” said Deal. “So many of our young people in high school have been led to believe that a four-year degree is what they need to succeed. I wanted them to see for themselves that you can be successful with a two-year degree.”
The visit to Timber Wolf provided students the opportunity to not only see drafting and AutoCAD at work, but also to see a fellow CCC&TI student at work. Nikki Kapetanis is currently employed at Timber Wolf and is also working toward her Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering at CCC&TI. Kapetanis has been with Timber Wolf for almost a year as an AutoCAD Designer and CNC Programmer designing, creating 3D models and programming machines to create custom pieces for Timber Wolf clients and customers.
For the visiting students, Kapetanis was able to demonstrate many of the steps involved in creating custom wood pieces for Timber Wolf customers. “During my presentation, I showed the students the process I take when dealing with custom jobs. I showed them how I start off with either physical parts and have to retract dimensions off of them or I start with photographs of what people are wanting,” said Kapetanis. “Then, I use design flexibility and dimensions to 3D model what they are wanting.” After Kapetanis’ presentation, the students were able to tour the plant and see the machines in action, creating component parts for the furniture and cabinet industries.
Drafting Instructor Marcus Dula says that the field trip was eye-opening for his students. “Students were quite surprised to learn that such a technologically advanced company resides here in Hudson. They were also impressed to see one of my former graduates excelling at Timber Wolf,” said Dula. “Field trips of this nature increase student awareness and helps them understand the connections between what they are being taught and how it can be applied in the workplace.”
Madison Roper, owner of Timber Wolf Forest Products, says opportunities and partnerships like this one give him high hopes for the future of his industry and for local students interested in the engineering field. “Allowing these students to see their education in application will hopefully reinforce their faith in long-term employment and advancement opportunities in their field. I hope they also regain faith in the woodworking industry as a whole,” said Roper. “There are many opportunities for young professionals today to make a great living and accomplish great things within our industry. It is all about having the right training. Other industries will also require similar skills in the future. Plastics, metal, aerospace, architecture, wood and many other industries will need folks like Nikki to help them grow and remain competitive in the global market.”