College to Get $56M in Software for Auto Industry Job Training

Students will have access to the same Siemens product lifecycle management software used by most automakers and suppliers

March 19--Mott Community College will get a $55.8-million software in-kind grant from Siemens to help train students to work in a variety of manufacturing jobs without the need for a four-year degree.

The grant was announced during the 2014 Automotive Summit at the Manufacturing in America Symposium at Ford Field in Detroit.

The donation means students at the Flint-based college will have access to the same Siemens product lifecycle management (PLM) software used by most automakers and suppliers and about 1,000 companies total in Michigan, company officials said.

"The manufacturing industry in America is on the rise and it is being transformed by a software revolution that is enhancing productivity, increasing efficiency and speeding time to market," said Chuck Grindstaff, president and CEO of Siemens PLM Software. "This revolution requires a highly trained workforce. With this grant, Mott Community College will be able to integrate world-class PLM technology into its curriculum, so that its students are even better prepared for co-op assignments and for high quality manufacturing jobs."

The software is the backbone of manufacturing, allowing companies to have a central storage place for all the data generated around a product, as long as a product exists.

"We are excited about the new capacity this brings to the region and the opportunity to further expand our work in design, PLM and digital manufacturing" Mott President Dr. M. Richard Shaink said in a news release. "We see this technology as a critical element of the innovation enterprise that will lead to the development of new and better products and ultimately to new and better jobs for the greater southeast Michigan region."

The hope is that by having the software, Mott will be better able to train students for jobs that might not need a four-year degree, but need more than a high school diploma. Across the state, community colleges are focusing more and more on how they can do just that and partner with business to match students with the skills needed by employers.

"It's important for companies to have students coming out of school who can hit the ground running," said Bill Boswell, senior director of partner strategy at Siemens PLM Software. "A lot of jobs don't require those four-year degrees, but there's still a whole skill set companies need. (The donation) will allow the students to be trained on this software which companies all over Michigan are using and be ready when they graduate."

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