Convention connects students, employers

Students were able to attend a SolidWorks group meeting on campus Oct. 14 in the CTC Building. 
The meeting served as a networking event for students, as well as offering free presentations on how to use the SolidWorks software.
“Students meet employers, and that’s really big,” said Dean Kerste, a professor of Mechanical Design Technology at MCCC.
SolidWorks is a 3D parametric modeling software with 2 million users divided into 220 user groups. MCCC is a part of the Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio SolidWorks User Group.
The group meets two times a year, once in April and again in October. The event began at 5:30 p.m. with opening remarks and dinner.
However, guests were invited to come as early as 3:30 to take part in a 3Dconnexion Modeling Competition, a banner signing, and to look at displays set up by companies that use SolidWorks.
The companies came from surrounding cities such as Detroit, Ann Arbor, Pontiac and Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as from Monroe.
One of the companies present was Dasi Solutions. Dasi is a company that solves software problems for other companies, as well as consulting with them on how to better use SolidWorks.
Dasi comes to the meeting at the college every year.
According to Tom Healy, an Account Manager at Dasi, one of the best parts of the meeting is to see how people are using the software, as well as being able to meet students and talk to them about applications.
One of the main reason why Dasi was at the meeting this month was to provide information about a new state-funded apprenticeship program.
According to David Darbyshire, a managing member at the Dasi Pontiac office, the government is pushing apprenticeship programs, and having one for design is unusual.
The apprenticeship will retrain people as well as train new people for jobs that use SolidWorks in various fields, including the automotive industry, the furniture industry, the defense industry, as well as anything that deals with animation.
“We chose this college because of Dean Kerste’s reputation for teaching students so well,” Darbyshire said.
Darbyshire told two representatives from AIS Automotive that Kerste’s program is one of the best he has seen in the state of Michigan.
The apprenticeship program has a partnership with MCCC to provide credit hours that equal out to a two-year apprenticeship.
According to Darbyshire, this allows the college and Dasi to line up students for companies.
Jacob Lindemann, a student at MCCC, attended the SolidWorks group meeting. He is taking one of Kerste’s classes and went to look at the companies.
“I like to see the companies that actually use the software,” he said.
Lindemann wants to work as an engineer at DTE.
Students were invited to attend presentations given by professionals who use SolidWorks.
One of the presentations was given by Kris Klika, a technical support manager from 3D Vision Tech. He is also one of the SolidWorks sellers.
3D Vision Tech is located in Cincinnati. Klika’s presentation  included tips and tricks for using SolidWorks. 
The main focus was to show surfacing tools that can be used to create more complex models.
Klika also hires tech support and engineers for 3D Vision Tech and says he looks for students with good communication and problem solving skills.
The event was free for students,  thanks to several sponsors, including DTE Energy, FEDCO, Rapid Sheet Metal Inc., and Centerpoint CAD Solutions.
The meeting ended with a giveaway of $1,000 worth of prizes including a 3D mouse, and shirts.

Nearly 100 people attended the SolidWorks user group meeting in the CTC.