Dreams became reality April 12 as abilities conquered disabilities, and fourteen resourceful students converted nine months of concentrated mindwork into college-level credits and certification as qualified Computer-Aided Design (CAD) specialists.
Under a program of Minneapolis Rehab Center, (MRC), the first class of CAD-trained graduates completed six months of rigorous classroom instruction, including AutoCAD, Math Concepts, Disk Operating System, Lotus 1-2-3 and PFS Write. To convert classroom training into real-world situations, 14 Minneapolis organizations sponsored 3-month internships, in which the students applied their new skills and proved themselves in the marketplace.
MRC CAD staffers Pat Sheehan, John Holmes, Dave Herding, Craig Slavik and Lynn Barager provided instruction, support and close coordination with the 41-member Business Advisory Council, members of which helped with student selection, curriculum development, classroom presentations, evaluations, internships and placement.
Other participants in the program included the Minneapolis Community College (credits and student services); Minnesota Division of Rehabilitation Services, State Services for the Blind, U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Minnesota Job Skills Partnership, General Mills Foundation (funding); IBM (technical assistance and computer systems); and the Thief River Falls Technical College (AutoCAD software).
Several of the students have already been retained by the firms in which they served internships, while others are furthering their knowledge in the field.
Graduates, and their internship firms, included: Scott Gillitzwer (Johnson Controls); Tom Jeffrey (3M); Ron Schmidt (Mall of America); Ron Thomas (1991 International Special Olympics); Guy Marcucci (KFA Engineering); Lonnie Gartner (General Mills); Luella Kolesar (Dayton’s Commercial Interiors); Tim McCourtney (Kurt Manufacturing); Gregg Brusehaver (haldeman-Homme); Mark Nathanson (Group Health); John Frear (BWBR Architects); John Colbert (Mayo Foundation); Karl Koshiol (Skaaden-Helmes Architects); Reynold Roberts (The Architectural Offices).