Community college best practice program to develop workforce

Donation of Iowa Western Community College launched the Siemens PLM Software best practice technology program.


Siemens PLM Software has launched a new community college best practice program to enhance the effort to revitalize manufacturing throughout the United States.

The program, developed in conjunction with Iowa Western Community College, provides resources to interested community colleges and local manufacturers including a recommended associate’s degree curriculum, a guide for obtaining in-kind software grants to provide the technology needed for implementation, and a detailed white paper, titled Community Colleges Revitalize Manufacturing, outlining the process for building a successful academic, government and business partnership for the program’s execution.

It is estimated that within five to 15 years the retirement of skilled baby boomers will create a workforce shortage of 10 million additional workers by 2020. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) job growth is projected to rise at twice the rate of the economy by 2018. The shortage of engineers in 2010 totaled 750,000 worldwide. With this in mind, manufacturers are finding it increasingly difficult to fill open positions with individuals who have advanced technology skills.

Jane Oates, assistant secretary for employment and training at the U.S. Department of Labor, stressed the importance of partnerships and the critical need for STEM education in her keynote address at the 2012 Siemens PLM Connection Americas User Conference earlier this month.

“Strong partnerships between employers, training providers, and all levels of government are crucial to ensure our workforce has the skills and experience to remain a global manufacturing leader,” said Oates. “By focusing attention on specific training needs in areas like data management and high-tech manufacturing, these partnerships are helping community colleges expand into community career centers—places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now—and that’s a model the President and I fully support.”

In February 2011, Siemens PLM Software announced the largest in-kind corporate contribution ever received by IWCC that enabled the college to successfully launch a design technology program. The program prepares graduates to enter the workforce in a high-demand career field or transfer to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor’s degree. 

Through the successful IWCC and Siemens PLM Software partnership, the new community college best practice program has been implemented. The program provides a two-year, fast-track curriculum, developed by an advisory board of academia and industry, with an emphasis on upgrading incumbent worker skills as well as training dislocated and minority-categorized workers. The curriculum introduces individuals to product design and development software technology used by many of the world’s leading manufacturing, architectural and construction companies.

“Now community colleges around the nation have a proven blueprint to meet the needs of local employers and prepare local students for high-paying careers in design technology,” said Dr. Dan Kinney, president, IWCC.

“As the baby boom generation retires and product complexity continues to grow, students who are able to use PLM technology are expected to be highly recruited,” said, Bill Boswell, senior director, Partner Strategy, Siemens PLM Software. “We are delighted to have had Assistant Secretary Oates present with us at our Americas User Conference to reinforce the need for STEM education and the importance of practical industry, academic, government partnerships.”

To find out more about the best practice new community college program, register to receive the Community Colleges Revitalize Manufacturing white paper.

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