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Featured Noncredit Workforce Promising Practice

Designers Helping Designers
Macomb Community College
Warren, MI

Program Description:
The Designers Helping Designers (DhD) program was launched in May 2010 and designed for unemployed and underemployed designers to practice, maintain and strengthen their skills through an informal arrangement using the following Computer Aided Design (CAD) software applications; CATIA and UG. The program does not allow any cross training, but enables participants to remain skill competitive within their respective design software background. The program is unique in the integration of both non-credit and credit components.

The DhD program was implemented in response to the job losses in manufacturing as a result of the restructuring within the auto industry. The design and implementation of the program was a result of a collaborative approach among many key stakeholders as the restructuring of the auto industry was finalized resulting in an anticipated demand for CAD designers with current and relevant skills. Requirement for program entry is a minimum of 5 years industry experience designing in either CATIA or UG.

The 80-hour program combines informal classroom sessions with software specific applications and is led by industry representatives, credentialed instructors, industry mentors, software Subject Matter Experts and tutors. Classroom modules include: a review of blueprint reading, Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing (GD&T), software updates, industry changes in software applications, design practices, design process, design for manufacturing and design for assembly. Lab modules include both individual and group projects. The program embeds content such as Interpersonal and Professional Skills and Problem Solving Techniques enhancing their soft- skills which are crucial to reemployment in the field. Labs are made available during and following course completion allowing students to practice using their updated skills.

While the program has a non-credit focus it is combined with credit bearing classes and provides a pathway towards a certificate and degree in the area of Product Development. By linking the non-credit to credit, it broadens the base of support services made available to the participant.

Program Outcomes:
As of June 30th, 2012 a total of 12 separate sessions have been delivered, 312 individuals have graduated from the program, 176 placements have been confirmed with an average pay rate of $ 25 per hour. Four sessions were funded by the Macomb/St. Clair Workforce Development Board prior to the program being funded by Macomb Community College’s Department of Labor ARRA grant which targeted defense jobs within acquisitions and logistics, engineering and advanced technology.

For More Information Contact:
Holger Ekanger, WCE Director

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