Crash course offers upcoming engineers the latest in high-tech opportunities

Eleven high school juniors from Richland Collegiate High School (RCHS) are getting a head start on college while still in high school. They recently completed the first course in a new engineering pathway that will enable them to become more employable by completing a Level 1 manufacturing certification.

Among the courses offered, the first is Drafting 1309, an intensive 13-day class taught by Dr. Mohammad-Ali Manouchehripour.  The students learned computer-aided design (CAD) which is one of the basic foundations of engineering. They also learned how to draw objects and create blueprints they will later manufacture.

“I think AutoCAD is a good software to learn in general because it has such a wide range of uses,” said Mitchell Zadnik, a student in the drafting course.  “Our instructor said some people take the class to make jewelry, some people take it for engineering and some people take it for the general knowledge of it.”

The students have access to Richland’s Technology, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Center, a multi-million dollar learning space that offers engineering and manufacturing students the opportunity to experience hand-on learning and career-focused training.

“Our students are going to be designing, developing and manufacturing their own parts and then assembling them into their own robotic assessments at the end of the program,” said Craig Hinkle, RCHS principal. Hinkle said when students leave, they will be employable in their field even before they receive their college degrees.

“All of the software students learn in this class and this program can be added to their portfolios,” said Manouchehripour.  When going for job interviews in a couple of years, he said, they’ll have the necessary experience with currently used software in the industry.

Some of the 11 students in the first course want to work in engineering fields, including aerospace, biotechnical, software, manufacturing and mechanical.  Others prefer architecture, math, marine biology or security.

Administrators were pleased that the inaugural class had more females than males.

“Math and science are the fields dominated usually dominated by males,” Hinkle said.  “In our society, we’ve been trying to change that. Now, there’s about a 60/40 female-to-male ratio, which we are proud of. We hope that will be an inspiration to other female students in the future.”

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