A+ Program was ticket to local student’s career in CAD

A two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer-Aided Drafting from St. Charles Community College gave one local student the education he needed to land a job in his field. Now, that same student may be in a position to help other students like him.

Ben Spaunhorst originally made the choice to go to SCC after listening to Dave Niermann, associate professor and coordinator of SCC’s CAD program, speak at Francis Howell High School.

When he started taking classes, Ben realized his SCC instructors had a lot to offer.

“I had teachers who were working in the industry during the day,” Ben said. “I knew they were teaching real stuff, stuff that mattered.”

It was with some assistance from Niermann that Ben developed a resume and was able to land a job at W-B Industries in O’Fallon, Mo. as a CAD drafter. He soon worked his way up to a project manager of the Aerospace Manufacturing Division.

“As we increase our aerospace work we will have a need for more workers like Ben,” said Ken Wasiuta, manager of engineering and new business development at W-B Industries. “When that happens Ben will be involved with mentoring and developing the new workers into capable project managers.”

“Ben had skills with SolidWorks software, which is primarily what we use here,” Wasiuta said. “We hired Ben as a CAD drafter and soon realized he was pretty sharp. Now he is a CAD/DPD (Digital Product Definition) team leader.”

Niermann said, “I still remember Ben and his dad coming to visit me on campus to learn more about our program, and this visit opportunity exists for any potential student and their family. Ben was subsequently an excellent CAD student. He has advanced in his career with W-B Industries and has contacted us representing his company about identifying more CAD students and graduates for potential employment there.”
Ben took advantage of the free tuition available through the A+ Schools Program, where Francis Howell High School is a designated school. The Missouri A+ Schools Program is designed to provide students who have graduated and successfully met the requirements from a designated A+ Missouri high school the ability to continue their education at any public community college or technical school within the state of Missouri.

“Ben succeeded in doing exactly what the A+ program was meant to do – provide the means for students to succeed in their career objectives,” said Kirsten Perschbacher, SCC A+ coordinator. “The A+ program allows many Missouri students to attend college, tuition-free, who would not have done so otherwise.”

SCC’s CAD program offers a Certificate of Achievement option (about one year) and an Associate of Applied Science degree option (about two years). Students have the opportunity to participate in an exhibition and competition, and benefit from a voluntary CAD advisory board made up of professionals in the community.

SCC also recognizes CAD students for their accomplishments each year. For nearly a decade, CAD students at SCC have been selected as winners of the Breaking Traditions awards sponsored by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which honor students in nontraditional career and technical education programs.

Students interested in learning more about SCC’s Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer-Aided Drafting may contact Niermann at 636-922-8561.

Computer-aided drafting technicians (i.e. drafting technicians or “drafters”) operate computer-aided design systems to produce final specifications and drawings for new designs. A drafter may work as a team member with engineers, analysts, architects, other drafters and/or designers assigned to a specific design. Drafters use special computer software for producing, communicating and revisiting detailed specifications and drawings.

SCC CAD graduates are employed in a broad range of careers, including, but not limited to: aeronautical drafter, architectural drafter, automotive design drafter, CAD drafter, civil drafter, controls designer, construction design, designer, detail drafter, detailer, die designer, die-drawing checker, drawings checker, electrical drafter, estimator, government recordkeeping, factory layout drafter, HVAC drafter, industrial drafter, manufacturing technician, patent drafter, product design drafter, project designer/manager, SolidWorks designer, structural drafter, technical illustrator and tooling designer.

About Peggy Schnardthorst

Welcome alumni and friends to my blog on topics related to alumni, giving, education and our community. If you know an SCC alum making a difference in our community or have other ideas for stories, please share with me at or 636-922-8278. Want to join our email list? Sign up at
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>