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More colleges benefit from Siemens’ software donations


​A student uses Siemens' manufacturing software. Thirteen educational institutions in Massachusetts, including five community colleges, will benefit from $660 million worth of in-kind software grants.

Photo: Siemens

​Siemens this week announced nearly $660 million of in-kind software grants for manufacturing programs at community colleges, universities and vocational high schools throughout Massachusetts, following nearly $125 million in similar donations this year to community colleges in Ohio and Michigan.

Students at Quinsigamond Community College (QCC), Berkshire Community College, Mount Wachusett Community College, Northern Essex Community College and MassBay Community College will train on the same Siemens software used in the manufacturing industry to design, develop and make products in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, consumer products, medical devices, machinery, shipbuilding, apparel and high-tech electronics.

As software plays an increasing role in manufacturing, students and faculty will use the software in assignments and research related to computer-aided design, engineering simulation, industrial design, digital manufacturing and manufacturing management, according to Siemens. The in-kind grants will also help to expand and modernize manufacturing curriculum in design and process technologies.

“Manufacturing is the most sophisticated, forward-looking and innovative business function in the world today and we need to let students, parents and administrators know what these jobs look like and what students need to learn in order to get them,” Eric Spiegel, president and CEO of Siemens USA, said in a statement. “This partnership can serve as an economic catalyst for the region, the state and the country.”

Assessing a need

The new grants are part of a series created to meet that need to train workers. The Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) and the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC), an alliance of companies working to provide employer-led workforce training initiatives, identified the need. MassMEP, part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology MEP system, will provide advanced training on the software to automate manufacturing processes with equipment on a plant floor.

Siemens Metals Technologies is a founding member of MACWIC and serves on the steering committee. The academic partnerships are designed to support MACWIC’s Applied Manufacturing Technology Certification Pathway, an advanced manufacturing certification program.

In partnership with MassMEP and the Massachusetts community colleges, Siemens software leverages the role of education in driving the state’s advanced manufacturing industry, said QCC President Gail Carberry.

“Our goal is to create the most productive advanced manufacturing workforce in the nation,” she said.

State officials anticipate advanced manufacturing in Massachusetts to add 100,000 jobs over the next decade. Careers in the sector have an average annual salary of $75,000, they added.

A growing network

Siemens has gradually awarded similar in-kind software to institutions in other states, including $66.8 million in software donations to Cincinnati State Technical & Community College in Ohio in February. Last month, the company announced a $55.8 million in-kind software grant to Mott Community College in Michigan during the 2014 Automotive Summit at the Manufacturing in America Symposium. Siemens has an expansive role in the automotive industry, with 80 percent of automotive factories around the world relying on Siemens automation equipment. Among global automakers, 14 of the top 15 equipment manufacturers and nearly 90 percent of the top 25 suppliers use Siemens PLM software.

“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,” said MCC President M. Richard Shaink.

Colleges interested in joining the network can email AACC

Siemens will announce more in-kind donations to community colleges in the coming months. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is helping to coordinate what is being called the “Siemens/Community College Network,” a growing group of manufacturing-focused two-year colleges that will share promising practices through webinars, regional workshops and other activities. Earlier this month, officials from Siemens, AACC and Cincinnati State outlined the initiative at the annual AACC convention in Washington, D.C.

Siemens is an AACC corporate partner and a member of the association’s Corporate Strategy Table and the Corporate Council, through which it support AACC’s Workforce Development Institute and its annual convention.

Siemens officials at AACC’s 2014 Workforce Development Institute