Lost your job and looking for something to give you an edge amidst all of the other job seekers? A new SolidWorks initiative extends a hand to displaced designers and engineers, offering up a free version of the 3-D CAD tool in the hopes of giving job seekers a chance to develop new skills that might help revitalize their careers.
The SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package includes a 90-day license of the SolidWorks Student Design Kit software for non-commercial use along with training videos, tutorials, networking forums, a certification program and career resources. The offer, originally announced in February at SolidWorks World 2009, comes at a time when unemployment is at a 25-year high at 8.5 percent and 3.3 million jobs have been lost in the last five months - 161,000 jobs eliminated in the manufacturing sector alone just this past March.
"We're seeing a lot of unemployment in this economic downturn, especially in the manufacturing sector," says Oboe Wu, SolidWorks' global product manager for SolidWorks Premium. "We're looking to help participants sharpen their 3-D skills and put them in a stronger position in this competitive job market."
Currently, the SolidWorks Engineering Stimulus Package is only available for U.S. or Canadian residents. In addition to the core SolidWorks package, the offer includes the SolidWorks eDrawings email-enabled file-sharing tool, hands-on test drives and training from participating SolidWorks' resellers along with access to the SolidWorks Customer Portal for support, networking opportunities and discussion groups. More than half of SolidWorks' North American VARs have agreed to offer hands-on test drives and some will offer advanced training options to help participants get up to speed on the software.
One of the highlights of the program is free testing to become a Certified SolidWorks Associate, a credential that establishes competency in the software and could be viewed as a differentiator for prospective job candidates. To help participants gear up for the certification test, SolidWorks is serving up tutorials on 3-D skills, along with many other training tools.
For Reid Bader, who hasn't officially been trained as an engineer, but is interested in pursuing that path, the SolidWorks certification could be just the springboard needed to facilitate a career change. Up until last December, Bader, who holds a degree in physics, was the owner of a small heating and mechanical systems construction company, doing a lot of work in AutoCAD as part of collaboration with architects. When business fell off in the fourth quarter, Bader was forced to shutter his company and went looking for resources that could help land new job opportunities in engineering and design. "When you don't work, it's time to sharpen the blade," Bader says. "I'm a big believer in computer certifications. This lets me get the training I need without having to go back to grad school."