High School Course Leads to Pursuit of Mechanical Engineering Degree

Published Thursday, January 30, 2020

Luke Carson pursued a career in CAD/Mechanical Engineering Technology at Kirkwood Community College after taking a Project Lead The Way course in high school. “I used AutoCAD and other software in the class, I really enjoyed learning how to draw diagrams and prepare engineering drawings” said Carson “and I knew I wanted to pursue a training program that was affordable and local.”

The CAD/Mechanical Engineering Technology program at Kirkwood Community College is a two-year program. Students that pursue this are also eligible for tuition assistance through the Last Dollar Scholarship. These dollars are geared towards covering tuition costs for Iowa residents in programs that lead to high-demand jobs.

Upon finishing his training, Carson went on to a few local positions before landing at his current Drafting Technician role with Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO). CIPCO is an electric cooperative generating and transmitting power to rural electrical cooperatives and associations. Carson says he does quite a range of tasks on any given day. “I do everything from getting quotes on pieces of equipment, to going inside substations, to creating line drawings for utility lines that run through the state of Iowa and ensuring that our database is up to date. The electrical grid is always changing, and we need to keep our customer’s power on. I also often travel to the field to watch substations being built to confirm they’re built in line with the planned design.”

Carson says it’s important to jump into this field with enthusiasm and a willingness to get your feet wet to gain experience. “You need to start somewhere, but after two or three years of experience you can get the job you’re looking for. I was looking for longevity in a job and feel I’ve found that with CIPCO.”

Students can learn additional information about this specific job by seeking out the job profile on the Community Promise website. These job profiles exist for students to see where future talent is needed in the area.