New CADD program puts students ahead

Blanca Reyes, Editor-in-Chief

Computer-Aided Design and Drafting A.A.S. (Advance Mechanical Drafting) is a new Dallas College program that is taking students to the next level of success.
One of these successful students is Heather McCurley. She is a single mom who decided to come back to school after her three children, who suffer from autism, grew up.

After graduation, Heather McCurley expects to become a full-time fire alarm designer. (Staff Photo/Blanca Reyes)

McCurley used to do office work, data processing and customer service work but she decided to become a stay-home mom when her children were born.
“I decided that when my three children graduated from high school … I would go back to work,” McCurley said. “But when I came to Richland, and I was looking at classes to do what I was doing before, I wasn’t really interested in it.”
Then McCurley decided to look through the course catalog and discovered the AutoCAD program. She started classes even though she had no previous experience with the program “I started taking classes and then I got a part-time job as a designer, designing fire alarms systems,” McCurley said.
McCurley started her new part-time job in January and is waiting to graduate before becoming a full-time employee. According to McCurley, the company hired her even though she did not have any experience in making fire alarms. She knew AutoCAD and the company was looking for someone who did.
Mo Manouchehripour is McCurley’s mechanical drafting professors He explained how the program has helped her and other students to find a pathway to an academic and financial success.
“The new program that we have takes only one year, two semesters. Eighteen to 19 hours, quick, and then they can finish the degree and go out there and make good money,” Manouchehripour said.
Richland campus also has 3D printers, which students from this program use to make their design a reality.
“We are making these objects from scratch. We are having to draw these in 3D, follow the dimensions, the sizes, and then we send them to the 3D printer,” McCurley said. Manouchehripour said that part of McCurley success is because she is people oriented, dependable and responsible, despite difficulties that she faces, like being a single mom.

“If I ask you to do something, to fix something, she will do it right away. She has not even graduated yet and she is working in the industry,” Manouchehripour said. “She has designed the sprinkler system, so I think she is a big success.”

For more information about the program, visit or talk to a career coach about the CADD program and AutoCAD courses.