Penn College Grads Ready for Work
Students armed with latest technology enjoy seamless transition into workforce
"Students are exposed to the use of new materials and manufacturing techniques, learn the ins and outs of Autodesk Inventor, and develop various other skills required for success in this industry. We adhere to a hands-on philosophy so that students learn by doing and can put theory into practice."
When employers come to your school seeking students to fill jobs, you know you’re doing something right. And that’s exactly what continually happens at the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology. Assistant Professor J. D. Mather couldn’t be happier with the success his students are having finding work and succeeding after graduation, something he credits to the school’s excellent faculty and their dedication to teaching the same tools used by professionals in the workforce.
“Right away in their first year, students get experience in leading-edge 3d CAD techniques and software,” says Mather. That software is the Autodesk® Inventor™ software, the world’s bestselling 3D mechanical design application. Mather, an Autodesk Inventor Certified Expert, understands the software’s value both as a teaching and professional tool. “We want students experienced with the tools that the industry is using,” he says.
Building a Foundation
The School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies at Penn College offers students two programs in drafting and CAD technology: a twoyear associate’s degree in Computer-Aided Drafting Technology and a four-year bachelor’s degree in Computer-Aided Product Design. The teaching and practice of new 3d design methodologies are the hallmark of their program.
Penn College is an active member of the Autodesk Student Engineering and Design Community (www.students.autodesk.com). This web portal enables students in the fields of mechanical engineering, industrial design, architecture, and civil engineering to download software, such as Inventor, for free.* In fact, Penn College student Austin Upright has his 3d design work featured in the Samples, Tutorial, and Help files of Autodesk Inventor. The portal also gives students access to a variety of other services, including job searches, peer networking, and access to industry experts.
Tomorrow’s Technology Leaders
The students at Penn College’s School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies are certainly earning excellent reputations in the industry. With placement rates approaching 100 percent, the school is clearly fostering the skills employers demand. And in some cases, they’re even becoming their own bosses.
“Two former students have their own mini-bike company,” says Mather. “Right now they have a patent pending for a product they developed using Inventor and a rapid prototyping machine.”
For students seeking a more traditional career route, job searches are proving to be easier than expected. Recently, Mather received an email from a company looking to fill a full-time opening for a technical designer position. This company had recently hired a graduate from Mather’s program and was so pleased with the training he brought to the position that they came back to repeat their success. Their initial search was for a seasoned designer, but the first student’s success and his potential made them reconsider their search to include candidates coming directly out of the Penn College program.
“This company is also interested in establishing a summer internship program with our students,” says Mather. “Again, this shows that the curriculum and tools we’re teaching are giving students tremendous opportunities in the workplace.”
Employers are specifically noticing how quickly Penn College grads become productive and credit their extensive Autodesk Inventor knowledge for this adaptability. Being able to hit the ground running gives these students a huge advantage.
Asking the Experts
Many Penn College students and teachers are experts in Autodesk Inventor software, and Autodesk gives them the opportunity to make this high level of knowledge official. The Autodesk Inventor Certification program enables highly experienced users to demonstrate proficiency and expertise of their knowledge of Autodesk Inventor. Considering the thorough four-hour hands-on and written examination required of participants, Inventor Certification is a well-respected accomplishment in the industry.
“We’re proud that two of our recent graduates, Ashley Belles and Andrew Butters, are two of only three students worldwide who have passed the Autodesk Inventor Certified Expert exam,” says Mather. “This exam is usually taken after a couple of years of professional experience.”
A certified expert himself, Mather has also been active in the beta development of AutoCAD® and Autodesk Inventor software. His list of accomplishments is impressive, including being the winner of several Autodesk Inventor Beta Challenges. He also won the Inventor Shape Description Contest with his realistic Inventor model of a stapler. Mather has also been a popular speaker at Autodesk University, where his presentation entitled “Becoming an Autodesk Inventor Professor in 90 Minutes” was a big success.
Tradition of Innovation
Some may find it ironic that this leading school of innovation and advanced technology is located in the historic city of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, a city dating back to the early nineteenth century. But perhaps the teachers and students of Penn College aren’t so different from the town’s founders. After all, they share the same unswerving dedication to new ideas and operate with the same vision that it’s not what is that matters, but what could be.
"We're proud that two of our recent graduates, Ashley Belles and Andrew Butters, are two of only three students worldwide who have passed the Autodesk Inventor Certified Expert exam," says Mather. "This exam is usually taken after a couple of years of professional experience."