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High CAD training costs still displace unemployed design candidates

Just because a large auto company pays for CAD training for its on-site employees doesn’t mean the price is reasonable. They can write it off. Now ask anyone without a job, but looking to get trained for a new employment opportunity; their lack of cash flow simply cannot handle the costs to maintain skills.

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The photo shows Vicon displaying its 3D real-time software for manufacturing at SAE 2011 World Congress. For part design, though, there are multiple brands of software with multiple versions that keep the training industry alive with profits while the unemployed struggle to pay for training to keep their skills current.

It is bad enough there are too many brands of CAD (computer aided design/drafting) systems associated with the auto industry, like Catia (V6 was V5), Siemens (formerly Unigraphics), SolidWorks, Pro/E (now Creo Elements), to name a few.

As you can see by the parenthesis, now we’re getting multiple iterations, reworks and versions of CAD software that require more training updates; and at more expense, of course. It's never ending.

Here’s the real downside: The costs of purchasing training copies make it prohibitive for the unemployed to continue their training, keep up with new software updates, and practice to get their skill sets up to acceptable industry standards.

Furthermore, the sheer cost of training is so high that only government program subsidies can help the unemployed; at the expense of the taxpayers, of course.

Consider the latest email offering this reporter received from Tristar, for example. TriStar prides itself on providing the best training possible.

Well, polling for affordability appears to be off the list. Just look at these prices for their
Detroit training location:

Introduction to Creo Elements/Pro 5.0 (formerly Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0)

Surfacing using Creo Elements/Pro 5.0 (formerly Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0)

Advanced Modeling with Creo Elements/Pro 5.0 (formerly Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0)

Advanced Assembly Design with Creo Elements/Pro 5.0 (formerly Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0)

Creo Elements/Pro Mechanica Simulation using Creo Elements/Pro 5.0 (formerly Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0)

Could you afford those prices if you were unemployed? And how could you continue your training until you found work?

TriStar began serving the CAD/CAM markets in 1988 by providing high-performance workstations and servers for the engineering environment. TriStar became a PTC Platinum Authorized Reseller in 2001, offering the full line of PTC software and certified training.

Today, TriStar is PTC's leading provider in North America and offers a complete range of engineering products and services including software; training; PLM, CAD, and CAM implementation and consulting services; and professional staffing services.

For the record, when PTC’s 2010 Channel Kickoff commended in Boston, Massachusetts, PTC also recognized TriStar with awards for “Top Training Partner”, “Top New Customer Partner”, “Top Windchill Revenue Partner”, “Top Windchill ProductPoint Partner”, and “Highest Maintenance Revenue Producer” for Fiscal Year 2009.

That’s not the issue. At issue is the cost, for starters. Second issue is the lack of available licensed copies after the training money is paid.

Fact is, unlike many other industry skill sets, CAD skills do not become high level by hunt and peck. Time must be spent on actual design projects; many, many hours. And the only way to do that is to have access to copies of the software for home training.

So, instead of having government programs like MichiganWORKS just pay for one-time training classes, they should include at least one year for a licensed copy for home use.

The CAD training industry is a profitable one for a reason. It surely charges enough; and every iteration, update and new version requires a whole new set of training classes. Get the picture now?

Too bad the auto industry doesn’t use its muscle to get the cost down. No, they defer to government subsidies that do not meet the needs of the trainees. Industry pressure would avail more opportunities to pick up people who have the talent, but lack the time in grade.

Same applies to government programs. And, with all respect, where the heck is the SAE in all of this? Charging high costs for their own training.

Bottom line, the auto industry still has its head where it ought not be. And, like the unions which the often enable, they now enable a training industry to rape and pillage the unemployed as they try to come up with the money for training and a copy of software with a short expiration date.

About the Author: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks and writes articles, books and ebooks via, but may be contacted here by email: [email protected]

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