Veteran Moves Forward in Mechanical Drafting - Cleveland Community College, Shelby, NC

Veteran Moves Forward in Mechanical Drafting

Jeff Bradley

Here at CCC we know our programs and instructors change lives, and many of our students have compelling stories. For a local veteran the Mechanical Drafting program provided a way to move his life forward.

In 2015, Jeff Bradley received a medical retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps after suffering a life-altering injury to his dominant hand while working on the landing gear of a KC-130-J, an aerial refueling tanker. Doctors were not optimistic, but after several operations and two years of therapy Bradley was able to keep his hand.

 “After injuring my hand, I was told by doctors I would not be able to work anymore. I didn’t take that lightly; I was only 27 years old at the time with a wife and three kids.” When Bradley saw a documentary on television about an engineer working for a NASCAR team who was missing both his arms, he thought “if he can do that while missing both his limbs, I can do that as well.”

Bradley had taken mechanical drafting courses while attending Kings Mountain High School and said, “If it wasn’t for 9/11 I would have continued my education in Mechanical Drafting after high school.” So, after retiring from the Marines and returning home to Cleveland County, he enrolled in the Associate in Applied Science in Mechanical Drafting program at CCC.

When asked about his experience in the program, Bradley said “The training I received was great. All my instructors are subject matter experts in this field, and they came from the mechanical drafting field. They all prepared us for what we would expect in the work force. They gave us all the knowledge and the tools to help us succeed.”

Not only did his instructors prepare him for the workforce, but they also helped him find an internship that turned into a full-time position. “I was able to obtain college credit, gain experience and work all at the same time.”

Bradley used his degree in mechanical drafting as a steppingstone and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology with a concentration in Industrial Engineering. These days he is designing parts on the computer and cutting them out of sheet metal on a fiber laser. He makes items for a wide variety of applications including bakery systems, railroads and the aerospace industry.

Want to learn more?

Check out the Mechanical Drafting program page for more information.

Occupational Outlook includes information on salary, what drafters do and more.