April 20, 2009
MCAD Vendors Assist Displaced Workers
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on MCADcafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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It’s certainly no secret that the state of the economy is at a low point, in fact, the lowest point in many, many years. The only time like the present that I can remember was the early 1980s, but this is different because it’s so far reaching into virtually every economic sector, including not just manufacturing, but design and engineering, as well.

Although the MCAD software companies are also feeling the effects of the current and continuing economic downturn, many, including SolidWorks and Autodesk (discussed below), are providing excellent opportunities for the MCAD community to retool and reinvent itself through a sense of community, education, and generous software offers.

If you find yourself in a situation where you feel your skills and knowledge are outmoded, I would heartily recommend you take full advantage of the programs presented by the MCAD vendors and look at this time as an opportunity to reinvent, reeducate, and retool for the future. I know I’m certainly going to take advantage of this time as I look ahead and move forward.

Also, check out the MCADCafe.com site as we have a number of resources for you to help in overcoming the current state of economic affairs. We have several forums for technical and advisory discussions with your colleagues, networking and job opportunities, technical information, and product reviews that will assist in your reeducation process, as well as to assure you that you are not alone in today’s challenging economic times. We’re all in this together and we will emerge from this temporary setback smarter and better prepared for the future on many different levels.

DS SolidWorks Unveils ‘Engineering Stimulus Package’ for Displaced Workers

Extending a hand to waves of displaced designers and engineers, Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. (DS SolidWorks) today activated a program to give these potential employees a chance to learn valuable new career skills in 3D computer-aided design.

Called the
SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package and first announced at SolidWorks World 2009 in February, the program gives free SolidWorks 3D CAD software licenses, training videos and tutorials, networking, certification, and potential job leads to any job seeker living in the United States or Canada. It will help them retool their skills at a time when unemployment is at 8.5 percent (a 25-year high), 3.3 million jobs have been lost in the last five months, and manufacturing employment fell
by 161,000 in March.

Reid Bader operated his own heating and mechanical systems construction business until December of 2008, when lack of work forced him to lay off his employees and close his business. He will download the SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package this morning. “While researching online job postings, it has become apparent that 3D CAD modeling and simulation skills are in demand,” he said. “It also has become apparent that SolidWorks is the platform that has critical momentum. When I found out that SolidWorks had an Engineering Stimulus Package for engineers who have been challenged by the hard economic times, I was very excited. I plan on enrolling in the program and becoming a
certified expert on the SolidWorks platform.”

Any US or Canadian resident is eligible for the SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package, which includes:
  • Software: a 90-day license of the SolidWorks Student Design Kit software for non-commercial use, with tutorials and documentation, plus the SolidWorks eDrawings® email-enabled file sharing tool;
  • Training: Hands-on test drives and other training from participating SolidWorks value-added resellers (VARs) throughout the United States and Canada;
  • Networking: Access to the SolidWorks Customer Portal for support, networking, and discussion; and
  • Certification: Free testing to become a Certified SolidWorks Associate (CSWA), a credential that documents SolidWorks competence and distinguishes job candidates for selective employers.
    DS SolidWorks will also expand this program to other geographical regions in coming months.

    SolidWorks is ideal software for a retraining program because of its position as the most widely used 3D CAD software in the world. SolidWorks is the single most requested 3D CAD technology experience on employment sites such as Monster.com and Aerotek. Individuals will be able to achieve basic proficiency within 90 days and have a fair opportunity to pass a CSWA test. DS SolidWorks offered a similar retraining program in from 2002 to 2007, which attracted more than 16,000 users. To support the new offering, more than half of SolidWorks’ North American VARs have agreed to offer hands-on test drives, and many of them will offer advanced training options as well.

    DS SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray hopes thousands more in Bader’s position take advantage of the program. “Actively developing high-demand skills can help transform your outlook, instill hope, and qualify you for well-paying careers,” Ray said. “Designers and engineers have placed their trust in DS SolidWorks for the last decade, and this is one way we’re doing our part and giving back.”

    To participate in or learn more about the SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package, visit

    Autodesk Assistance Program Offers Help to Displaced Workers

    Recognizing the impact of today's economic challenges, Autodesk is launching the Autodesk Assistance Program. The Autodesk Assistance Program will provide Autodesk customers and partners with design software tools, education and resources that will help them to enhance, maintain and develop their 3D design technology skills and remain competitive in the marketplace. The program will offer free* student software term licenses, free online training and a path to certification to unemployed architects, designers and engineers in all industries.

    "Everyone has been touched by the economic downturn," said Steve Blum, senior vice president, Autodesk Americas sales. "Autodesk has a tradition of supporting the needs of its customers and partners. The Autodesk Assistance Program is a fast-tracked way for our customers to improve their productivity and competitiveness during this challenging and volatile time by accessing the multiple resources we offer them to best position themselves for the future."

    Autodesk Assistance Program tools and resources will be made available through an online portal, where users can access:
  • Free Software License: Any 13-month term student license of AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit Architecture, Autodesk Inventor Professional, and/or AutoCAD Civil 3D software.
  • Free Online Training: On-demand training available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week provided online through vBooks - powered by Retrieve Technologies, Inc. (internet access required)
  • Reduced-Cost Classroom Training: Many Autodesk Authorized Training Center (ATC) partners are offering classroom training at their training facilities for free or for a significantly reduced fee.
  • Certification: Certification preparation and exams are available at discounted rates through Autodesk Authorized Certification Centers.
  • Partners who participate in the Autodesk Assistance Program will be designated as official Autodesk Assistance Program members on the program's website. Offers for certification and classroom training will vary depending on each ATC. Locate an Autodesk ATC in your area for details.

    The Autodesk Assistance Program is being launched in North America. The company hopes to roll the program out in other countries over the next few months.

    Autodesk currently provides training and online resources to end users through Autodesk University Online (AU Online), Autodesk User Group International (AUGI), various online industry communities and the Autodesk YouTube Channel.

    For more information about the Autodesk Assistance Program, please contact your local reseller, or contact Autodesk directly at Email Contact or visit

    Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

    Autodesk Manufacturing Tech Day

    A couple weeks ago we ventured to Lake Oswego, Oregon to Autodesk’s manufacturing software headquarters to learn more about the 2010 manufacturing software product lines. It was a full day, but provided good insight into how the various products fit and work together from conceptual design to simulation and analysis to tooling design to manufacturing.

    Like many of its competitors, Autodesk is investing heavily in the consumer product design market, with tools such as Alias, Moldflow, and Inventor Tooling – all aimed at designing plastic parts and tooling.

    Autodesk also admits that CAE is still too difficult to use, and is working hard to integrate acquired CAE technologies from Algor, Plassotech, and Solid Dynamics into inventor. The company is also striving to demonstrate and prove that simulation and design are not separate tasks, but processes that should be run in parallel.

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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


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