Siemens announces $1 billion in software grants for Virginia schools

Students will now have access to the same Siemens product lifecycle management (PLM) software used throughout the global manufacturing industry to design, develop and manufacture some of the world’s most sophisticated products in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, consumer products, medical devices, machinery, shipbuilding, apparel and high-tech electronics.

Siemens Invests More Than $1 Billion in Software Grants for Virginia Schools to Educate and Train Workers for Manufacturing Industry

Today from the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, an applied research center that provides production-ready manufacturing solutions, Siemens announced more than one billion dollars of in-kind software grants for manufacturing programs at community colleges and universities in Virginia. Students will now have access to the same Siemens product lifecycle management software used throughout the global manufacturing industry to design, develop and manufacture some of the world’s most sophisticated products in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, consumer products, medical devices, machinery, shipbuilding, apparel and high-tech electronics.

The series of in-kind grants was established as a result of an industry need for skilled workers and is designed to support the state’s largest industrial employer, Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, and other companies with local ties such as Rolls-Royce.  The grants are part of ongoing workforce development collaboration among community colleges, universities and organizations like CCAM, the Virginia Manufacturers Association and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center – an organization that provides workforce training to the rural population.

“The manufacturing industry in America is on the rise and is being transformed by a software revolution that is enhancing productivity, increasing efficiency and speeding time to market,” said Chuck Grindstaff, president and CEO, Siemens PLM Software. “Here in Virginia where shipbuilding is core to the state’s economy, it’s important we equip students with the tools that will help them build the world’s most complex ships for the U.S. Navy, such as the Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers.”


“I was pleased to be with Siemens today as they announced that they are investing more than $1 billion in in-kind software grants for Virginia schools, including community colleges and universities. These grants will help educate and train workers for the manufacturing industry and will also allow students to have access to Siemens software that is used throughout the global manufacturing industry,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe.  “This investment in education and in workforce development is key to my vision to build a 21st century economy where workers, providers, and entrepreneurs want to invest and produce in our growing commonwealth.”

Seven academic partners throughout the state are receiving in-kind software grants to support curriculum and training programs including:

  • Thomas Nelson Community College – $954.7M: Siemens software will support training in manufacturing process analysis and lifecycle management to expand and modernize manufacturing curriculum in design and process technologies for up to 400 credit students and 2,600 noncredit workforce students to address workforce development needs for area employers, to include Newport News Shipbuilding.
  • New River Community College – $64.3M: Siemens’ software to be used in the school’s new the NRCC MakerSpace Lab.
  • Old Dominion University – $746M: An academic member of CCAM, the grant will help ODU further expand the Virginia Community College System workforce training programming that provides direct benefits to the regional maritime industry, especially Newport News Shipbuilding and the U.S. Department of Defense. The software will be integrated into existing undergraduate and graduate curriculum and help develop a PLM center of excellence with a focus on marine engineering.
  • Virginia Commonwealth University – $230.9M: From robotics to biomechanics, the School of Engineering is partnering with School of Business to develop a program in manufacturing and logistics.
  • Virginia State University – $105.6M: The software will support six programs at VSU, an organizing member institution of CCAM: Manufacturing Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electronics Engineering Technology, Logistics Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology.
  • ECPI University – $130.3M: The Engineering Technology department will use this software to support hands on practical application and directly benefit industry through three programs – Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology and Mechatronics (Advanced Manufacturing).
  • Southern Virginia Higher Education Center – $33M: In addition to a $94M in-kind software grant last fall, SVHEC is expanding its use of Siemens PLM software to support digital manufacturing.

“This grant will allow Thomas Nelson to provide our students and community with access to state-of-the-art education and training in these high demand technology industries,” said Thomas Nelson President John Dever.  “The Siemens software will have a significant economic impact to Hampton Roads and will allow Thomas Nelson to increase the number and quality of curricular offerings to the growing workforce in our region.”

“We are tremendously appreciative of this grant from Siemens PLM, which represents state-of-practice software for managing every aspect of product information from its development, design, manufacturing, to its support and maintenance,” said Old Dominion University Dean Oktay Baysal. “The software will be integrated into existing as well as new undergraduate and graduate curriculum and will help develop a Product Lifecycle Management center of excellence with a focus on marine engineering.”


Virginia Commonwealth University Dean Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D. said, “This software gives us the ability to educate on a very practical level. By teaching with programs used in industry, our students will be even more prepared for the real world.”

“These grants from Siemens epitomize the collaborative partnerships that CCAM represents,” said VSU President Keith T. Miller.  “The research these funds will allow us to accomplish will, in turn, be returned to our CCAM partners and utilized in their processes.”

“I remember vividly the day when I was first introduced to the Siemens PLM system,” says ECPI University Virginia Beach Campus President Kevin Paveglio. “I was so impressed with what they had developed that it caused me to reflect on my 27 years in advanced manufacturing. We are excited to be partnered with such a forward-thinking company as Siemens.  The PLM software package fills a tremendous need, providing the interoperability software component that will take the industry to new levels of performance. In combination with our hands-on application engineering, this PLM software system will add even more value to our students skill set as they enter and continue to support industry.”

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Siemens as we grow our digital manufacturing and Mechatronics capabilities,” said Dr.Betty Adams, SVHEC Executive Director.  “This investment strengthens our continuing efforts to meet the needs of employers and prepare students for significant high-paying STEM careers.”

As software plays an increasing role in the next era of manufacturing, students and faculty will use the software in assignments and research related to computer-aided-design, engineering simulation, industrial design, digital manufacturing and manufacturing management. The in-kind grants will also help to expand and modernize manufacturing curriculum in design and process technologies. By using the software in their course work, academic and research projects, students can develop the advanced skills sought after by the more than 77,000 customers who utilize Siemens’ software and technology solutions worldwide.  This includes nearly 90 companies throughout the region and commonwealth of Virginia who rely on Siemens’ PLM and CAD software including employers such as: Newport News Shipbuilding, Rolls-Royce and Orbital Sciences Corp.


Newport News Shipbuilding is transitioning to this software for use on the next class of aircraft carriers, the Gerald R. Ford class for the U.S. Navy. Longer than three football fields, this is the most complex ship in the world, and it can accommodate a crew of about 4,500 sailors and more than 75 aircraft.  To better address the shipbuilding industry’s requirements, Siemens PLM Software maintains a Shipbuilding Center of Excellence in Newport News, Virginia, to help the shipbuilding industry create value by optimizing its use of PLM software. Siemens announced in March the creation of a Shipbuilding Catalyst, a pre-packaged combination of industry-specific best practice guides, templates and tailored software that integrates and synchronizes shipbuilding operations across the supply chain. 

“Manufacturing is the most sophisticated, forward-looking and innovative business function in the world today, and we need to let students, parents and administrators know what these jobs look like and what students need to learn in order to get them,” said Eric Spiegel, president and CEO, Siemens USA.  “This partnership can serve as an economic catalyst for the region, the state and the country.”

In addition to today’s announcement, Siemens has already invested more than $1 billion providing software to several Virginia academic institutions including CCAM, SVHEC, Virginia State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and the Lee County Career and Technology Center.  As part of this effort, Siemens is also working with the Virginia Manufacturers Association on a credentialing pathway at community colleges for manufacturing technicians as well as to improve the perception of careers in manufacturing.  This work is being done through the Dream It. Do It. Virginia network, a free career resource tool built by Virginia’s advanced technology sector to help individuals learn more about exciting fields of possible future employment.

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