NORTH ADAMS -- When students in Charles H. McCann Technical School's machine technology and computer-assisted design (CAD) programs return in the fall, they'll benefit from the recent donation of nearly $1 million of manufacturing software by a Michigan company.
Cimatron Limited is donating $900,000 of its CimatronE integrated tooling and manufacturing CAD/CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) software, which is quickly becoming an industry standard, to the school.
"The ability to learn and train on this software is going to give our students a huge advantage when they go out into the workforce," McCann Principal Justin Kratz said Wednesday. "They will be ready to go out into the advanced manufacturing field, which is in high demand. There is a big movement to bring manufacturers back to the United States. To do that we need people who are trained in advanced manufacturing. These are very skilled, high-paying jobs."
The software will be installed in computer labs used by the manufacturing technology and CAD classes, and will be used in every step of the manufacturing process, from the initial design planning process to the actual production of project on the CNC (computer numerical control) machines.
"We are preparing our students to be significant contributors to the manufacturing economy and provide good middle-class jobs and wages for their families and our community," James Brosnan, superintendent of the Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District, said in a release issued by Cimatron on Wednesday. "Manufacturing today is all about speed, so training students on software that enables them to be more productive is a real asset to them, to their future employees, and to the industry."
The donation from Cimatron happened after faculty member Thomas Matuszak, who teaches classes in machine technology and CAD/CAM, contacted the company earlier this year.
"All of our instructors do their best to stay up on what's happening in their field and make sure their students are as prepared as possible," Kratz said. "Tom was looking for software that covered all phases of design - from the initial plans to the production. While he was out looking around, he found that the manufacturing industry is gravitating toward Cimatron and he made contact with them. He found out that the company is very invested in making sure the future workforce is ready to step into high demand jobs"
He said the software will be used by 140 to 160 per year in the machine technology and CAD/CAM programs and may be able to be used by the school's Project Lead the Way pre-engineering students.
"This donation continues a long tradition of collaboration with educational institutions such as McCann Technical School, which play a critical role in preparing the next generations of the industry's skilled workforce," Bill Gibbs, Cimatron's president of North American properties, said in a release on Wednesday.
Pittsfield-based Marland Mold Inc. and Starbase Technologies, two businesses that offer co-op opportunities to McCann students, already use Cimatron's software.
"Students will benefit from the ability to learn faster and become more productive working with state-of-the art software," Matuszak said in a release on Wednesday. "CimatronE's integrated CAD/CAM software will allow students to experience first-hand how designs transform into actual tools and parts. We plan on using CimatronE as the primary platform for our students from now on."
Kratz said that Cimatron had already sent instructors to the school to teach faculty members how to install and use the software.
"I can't say enough good things about Cimatron. It's been a really positive and beneficial experience for us," he said.