Speaking from the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), an applied research center that provides production-ready manufacturing solutions, Siemens announced on June 4 that it will provide more than one billion dollars of in-kind software grants for manufacturing programs at community colleges and universities in Virginia.
The series of in-kind grants was established as a result of an industry need for skilled workers and is designed to support the state’s largest industrial employer, Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, and other companies with local ties such as Rolls-Royce.
“The manufacturing industry in America is on the rise and is being transformed by a software revolution that is enhancing productivity, increasing efficiency and speeding time to market,” said Chuck Grindstaff, CEO, Siemens PLM Software. “Here in Virginia where shipbuilding is core to the state’s economy, it’s important we equip students with the tools that will help them build the world’s most complex ships for the U.S. Navy, such as the Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers.”
Newport News Shipbuilding is transitioning to this software for use on the next class of aircraft carriers, the Gerald R. Ford class for the U.S. Navy. Longer than three football fields, this is the most complex ship in the world, and it can accommodate a crew of about 4,500 sailors and more than 75 aircraft. To better address the shipbuilding industry’s requirements, Siemens PLM Software maintains a Shipbuilding Center of Excellence in Newport News, Va. Siemens announced in March the creation of a Shipbuilding Catalyst, a pre-packaged combination of industry-specific best practice guides, templates and tailored software that integrates and synchronizes shipbuilding operations across the supply chain.
The grants are part of ongoing workforce development collaboration among community colleges, universities and organizations like CCAM, the Virginia Manufacturers Association and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SHVEC) – an organization that provides workforce training to the rural population.
Seven academic partners throughout the state are receiving in-kind software grants to support curriculum and training programs including:
- Thomas Nelson Community College – The funds will support training in manufacturing process analysis and lifecycle management to expand and modernize manufacturing curriculum in design and process technologies for up to 400 credit students and 2,600 noncredit workforce students to address workforce development needs for area employers, to include Newport News Shipbuilding.
- New River Community College – The funds will be used in the school’s new the NRCC MakerSpace Lab.
- Old Dominion University – The grant will help ODU further expand the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) workforce training programming that provides direct benefits to the regional maritime industry, especially Newport News Shipbuilding and the U.S. Department of Defense. The software will be integrated into existing undergraduate and graduate curriculum and help develop a PLM center of excellence with a focus on marine engineering.
- Virginia Commonwealth University – The funds will be used for robotics and biomechanics, within the School of Engineering which is partnering with School of Business to develop a program in manufacturing and logistics.
- Virginia State University – The software will support six programs at VSU, an organizing member institution of CCAM: Manufacturing Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electronics Engineering Technology, Logistics Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology.
- ECPI University - The Engineering Technology department will use this software to support hands on practical application and directly benefit industry through three programs – Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology and Mechatronics (Advanced Manufacturing).
- Southern Virginia Higher Education Center – The funds will support digital manufacturing.
“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,” said Eric Spiegel, CEO, Siemens USA. “This partnership can serve as an economic catalyst for the region, the state and the country.”