Ribbon Cutting held for IWCC Design Tech program


September 15th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for IWCC Design Technology Center

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held this (Thursday) morning in Atlantic, for a new “Design Technology” Program at Iowa Western Community College’s Cass County Center. Students enrolled in the program, the idea for which began almost five-years ago, will learn to build 3-D, virtual products using specialized software developed by Texas-based Siemens Product Lifestyle Management. Jay Miller, a native of Atlantic, conceived the idea of having the program, which is the first of its kind in the nation for a two-year college, explained how Atlantic became the site for a program which will fill the needs of a global community. He says he approached Dr. Dan Kinney, President of Iowa Western in 2007 with the concept. Industry advisors were then recruited from Rockwell-Collins, Keiwit, Mahle Components, Winnebago and L.B.T., to develop the curriculum. Higher Learning Commission approval was later granted to allow students to graduate from the Atlantic Center, and a $65.2-million grant was received from Siemens in the Summer of 2010.

Miller said graduates of the program will fill a need companies have to replace retiring workers in the high-tech industry throughout the world. One of the companies who is in need of the type of students the program will instruct, is Rockwell-Collins.  Dale Wolf, Head of Engineering Services for Rockwell,  said the knowledge students gain in state-of-the-art tools in 3-D electronic design and data management, should provide them with “significant employment opportunities,” in a variety of industries. He says his company and others in the aerospace industry are facing a shortage of skilled workers due to retirements, and the Design Technology Program will help to fill the void.

Bill Boswell, Head of Partnerships for Siemens P-L-M Software in Des Moines, said he attended a conference of industry analysts who cover the manufacturing industry, in Boston, Massachusetts, last week. He said one of the things they talked about, in addition to the recent devastating effects of the hurricane, was the “perfect storm” the industry faces for educated and highly skilled workers. He says one of the company H-R vice presidents he spoke with, said they will be losing 50,000 people to retirement in the next 10-years alone. Other companies will experience a similar “brain drain.“

Boswell said even with a poor global economy last year, there was still a need for 3-million engineers. Colleges and Universities worldwide only graduated about 2.25-million students, which leaves a shortage of 750,000 worldwide, just to keep up with the booming technology. Iowa Western Community College he says, is the first partner his company has worked with, to create a two-year Associates Degree program around Product Lifestyle Management.