Apprenticeship Grants = Stronger Workforce

President Obama at Macomb Community College

President Barack Obama addresses the crowd Sept. 9 at Macomb Community College. Photo by Ray Skowronek

For years, students have been told not to go into engineering or manufacturing. Some were told manufacturing was a dirty, dead-end career move, while others, during the recent recession, were told that they were never going to find a job in engineering. This is one of the biggest struggles in our industry today, bridging the skills gap that has been left behind by years of this type of career advice.

Here at DASI, we’ve always been advocates of helping to build a strong, educated and empowered workforce through our wide selection of SOLIDWORKS training courses and the Industrial Design Technician Apprenticeship Program that was developed in 2014. However, despite a stat that the White House tweeted out this week (those who go through an apprenticeship program have an average starting salary of $50,000) it seems that these opportunities have been few and far between for young people entering the workforce.

But it seems that is about to change…

President Barack Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden visited Macomb Community College this week to announce $175 million in apprenticeship grants. These grants were given out to 46 applicants across the country and represent the largest investment in apprenticeships ever given by the government.

One of the recipients was a group near and dear to us at DASI. Focus: HOPE is a 20 year old Detroit organization with which DASI works closely to help develop a stronger workforce. With $3 million in apprenticeship grant money, Focus: HOPE will not only offer apprenticeships for industrial design and engineering, but begin to offer new options including network technology and prototype technician programs.

DASI is looking forward to continuing our work with Focus: HOPE and plans to help train at least 75 Industrial Design Technicians in the use of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD over the course of the next five years. And who knows… with their addition of programs dedicated to prototype technicians, we may even start adding 3D Printing training courses to our schedule…

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