autodeskIt can be all too easy living in the here and now. Often, people can’t be bothered to plan ahead to the next day, much less consider work force issues that must be dealt with now, to start cultivating the next generations that might contain one Bill Gates here, one Steve Jobs there, and a number of individuals in between who are capable of turning the world on its ear with startling and wonderful new ideas.

Currently, the powers that be, at the headquarters of some of the industry giants are wondering who will fill the growing population of empty chairs in high paying jobs and think tanks needed for scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and more. There’s only one way to fix the problem, and that’s to get kids on board now. Autodesk is busy working on this challenge diligently, crossing oceans and continents, spreading the word far and wide with free access to their products.

The world of technology luckily does seem to be all about moving into the future. Involving and nurturing young people and the inventors of tomorrow is part of the natural flow with many of the popular high tech companies of today. The peer group in technology also has a tendency to be young and hip, with startups springing up left and right, headed by young geniuses who are making all the elements that comprise STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) education suddenly look very cool. Not nearly cool enough though, according to the employment figures from Autodesk, who (and they aren’t the only ones to sound the alarm) wants to make it clear that there are way too many high-paying jobs being left unfilled as students are exiting high school and college without the interest—or the qualifications—to fill those jobs.

Autodesk is busy paving an enticing path of bread crumbs for the young whippersnappers to follow…and it begins with free software, training, and education programs for students and teachers.

We were all certainly on board with Autodesk’s announcement earlier this year, in conjunction with President Obama’s ConnectED Initiative, that they would be giving $250 Million in software and services to schools in the U.S. as part of expanding their ‘Design the Future’ program. ‘Design the Future’ aims to help integrate and get kids pumped about STEAM curriculum by giving teachers the required tools to teach critical problem-solving skills and prepare their students for quality, challenging careers.

Autodesk, Inc. President and CEO Carl BassAt the time, Carl Bass, Autodesk president and chief executive officer said, “Our customers have unfilled, high-paying positions due to the lack of qualified U.S. high school and university graduates.”

“As part of our ongoing commitment to training and equipping the next generation of designers, engineers, architects and digital artists, we are proud to respond to the call from President Obama. Today we are committing to making our Design the Future program available to every secondary school in the United States over the next year.”

Autodesk, the leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software, is upping the ante now, and expanding their program worldwide, to potentially include 680 million students and educators from over 800,000 secondary and post-secondary schools in 188 countries. These students could soon have free access to Autodesk’s professional software and services to use anywhere they wish.

“The way we make things is changing rapidly, and we need a workforce ready to design for new manufacturing and construction techniques. By providing free professional design tools to students, faculty members and academic institutions around the world, we’re helping get industry ready for the next phase,” said Carl Bass.

fusion360_facebookExpansion has already occurred across Asia Pacific and Europe with Autodesk assisting and encouraging schools in using their cloud-based products like A360.  They also offer free project-based learning content and resources including the Digital STEAM Workshop and Design Academy.

With Autodesk products like Fusion 360, kids are learning how to do things like:

  • Make and 3D print prosthetic devices
  • Develop sustainable housing
  • Design products like the ‘Energy Scooter

“Closing the digital gap in education starts by providing European schools with common access to the same advanced technology being used by industry professionals today. Autodesk’s pledge to provide our schools, students and teachers with free access to its professional 3D design software will enable educators to introduce design thinking into our classrooms; equip digital natives with the design tools to learn to solve real-world challenges in new creative ways; and prepare the next-generation workforce with the 21st century skills to meet industry demands and advance our economies,” said Neelie Kroes, former vice-president of the European Commission.

Have you or someone you know benefited from any of these programs? What do you think it takes to get students interested in the STEAM areas of education? Tell us your thoughts in the Autodesk ‘Design the Future’ forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

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