To the untrained eye, at times it may look Andrew McCoy is playing a very sophisticated version of The Sims on his computer. And on some level, that’s not too far off.
The 19-year-old, soon-to-be graduate of Calhoun Community College’s design drafting program spent part of Wednesday morning fine tuning a room he created.
He said people usually have the same misunderstanding when they think of drafting.
"That it’s quick. I think people think that just because it’s just drawing lines and walls and all of these different things, that people can just do it like this and that’s not how it works,” said McCoy.
Just last month, McCoy proved he is a budding master at his craft by taking home the gold at the national SkillsUSA competition.
"Last year, I placed fourth, which was kind of a kick in the teeth. You would almost rather not get anywhere closer to it. But yeah, I was very upset. But this year was like beating that. It was like I was against Skills this time, trying to defeat the monster,” said McCoy.
Design drafting instructor Nina Bullock was thrilled with McCoy’s success, but not shocked by it.
"And I wasn’t really surprised when he won first because I felt like he had prepared sufficiently, we had given him the knowledge he needed here at Calhoun and he knew everybody was rooting for him too,” said Bullock.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,140 architectural and civil drafters in Alabama as of 2018. The BLS stated that there are 49 annual openings for drafters within a 60 mile radius of Calhoun.
As proud as she is of her students, like McCoy, Bullock said not nearly enough young people are being steered toward the industry to fill those jobs.
"Probably last year I turned away 30-40 people in industry that I just didn’t have students. They were already working, just like Andrew,” said Bullock.
She said parents and high school counselors need to do a better job letting students know about the potential in this field.
"This is an artsy degree, but the artsy degree where you can actually earn a good living with. So that’s a thing people do not realize,” said Bullock.
As for McCoy, he already has a part-time, soon-to-be full-time job with Butcher Drafting, but he said he may not be done with learning just yet.
"I was thinking about coming back for my additive degree, maybe. And then possibly getting my engineering degree too,” said McCoy.
To learn more about the design drafting program at Calhoun click here.