$650,000 software donation will help prepare students

Leslie Arntz

Software is expensive.

But a donation of $650,000 worth of software could ease the strain on a college budget.

USG Corp., a company that creates manufacturing management software and services, along with local partner Appropriate Technology, donated $650,925 worth of Solid Edge software to the College of Technology.

Assistant Professor Mike Dragomier described the program as a mid- to high-range computer-aided design program that is used widely across the manufacturing industry.

“This (software) will give a holistic, 360-degree approach to design,” said Raj Chowdhury, dean of the College of Technology. “I think our students will be so well-prepared (for the job market).”

The college has a one-year, unlimited license for the software that can be loaded onto as many computers as needed.

“One of the advantages is that students get their own copies of the software to load on their own PCs and work at home,” said Dragomier, who is teaching the first class to use this software. “One problem working with CAD programs is dedicated lab space.”

Dragomier said students can only use lab space during class or open lab time, and it is difficult to schedule open labs.

“Now they can move at their own pace,” he said.

The College of Technology received educational versions of the software, but Dragomier said the college and company are working together to get professional copies for a class for students who want to be certified Solid Edge users.

Chowdhury said students will benefit from using software considered to be an industry standard, and the field will benefit from well-trained students coming into the job market already knowing how to use this program.

“Employment opportunity is almost a 100 percent guarantee,” Chowdhury said. “This transforms thinking into design into reality, and reality is always three-dimensional.”

Contact College of Technology reporter Leslie Arntz at [email protected].