Like everything else, there’s a good and a bad side to the lightning-fast advancement of technology. The benefits outweigh the problems, in my opinion, as lives are saved and jobs are created. One drawback, however, is that those jobs are being created so fast that we can barely keep up. It’s a race to get students educated, up to date and proficient in the newest technology before they graduate into the workforce.
Fortunately, there are plenty of companies willing to devote their time and resources to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education. SolidProfessor has been offering online training courses in design software for over a decade, and earlier this year they started expanding their selection with beginning courses in 3D printing. They’re also helping to address another issue plaguing STEM education – lack of funding.
Many schools just don’t have the money to equip themselves with the tools necessary to teach 3D printing, robotics, or other advancing technology. Donations of equipment from companies such as MakerBot, Dremel and others help immensely, and many schools rely on such donations and grants to be able to implement any sort of technological education programs at all. Now SolidProfessor is really stepping up to the plate by offering not just training programs but generous funding to schools to help implement more thorough STEM education.
Last year, the company gave more than $3 million to middle schools, high schools, universities, community colleges and other post-secondary institutions as part of their Technology Grant program, and this year they plan to expand it even further so that more schools can implement desperately needed technological education at little expense.
“There is a growing skills gap in STEM fields as more jobs are being created and there are not enough students graduating with the STEM skills they need for the rapidly growing industries,” said Matt May, Director of Education for SolidProfessor. “Schools are challenged with budget cuts and limited resources. Through the SolidProfessor Technology Grant program, we are working with skills to integrate STEM learning solutions into their classroom.”
One recipient of the Technology Grant last year was Tulsa Technology Center, which definitely felt the benefits of the reduced-cost educational program. Michael Doering, an architect and instructor at the school, uses SolidProfessor programming to teach his students how to use SOLIDWORKS.
“Once I found SolidProfessor and their Technology Grant Program, I set up assignments for my students, and then we could spend time in class on lessons that continue to build on the skills they learned on their own,” said Doering. “Now I can make sure everyone is getting the same information. The lessons are right to the point, they have worked for my students.”
Thanks to the program, nine of Doering’s students passed the Certified SOLIDWORKS Associate (CSWA) test, with one even achieving a perfect score.
Teachers and school administrators can apply for a Technology Grant here, and students or parents can nominate their schools to receive grants here; information about signing up can be accessed here. Discuss further in the SolidProfessor 3D Printing Courses forum over at 3DPB.com.