LOWELL -- Immersing students in real-world learning opportunities can't be stressed enough in 2018.
Employers across the region worry that students are not ready for work by the time they graduate.
They emphasize that co-ops, internships and senior capstone projects prepare students for jobs in this rapidly changing digital age.
"Companies need these employees to hit the ground running when they graduate," says Al Bunshaft of Dassault Systemes, a local software company. "Through experiential real-world learning, they'll be better-prepared employees when they graduate."
To address this need, Dassault Systemes and UMass Lowell are expanding their partnership. They recently announced that they will open a new digital learning center, where engineering students will get hands-on experience in designing and creating products.
Slated to open next year on campus, the new center will provide students with access to Dassault Systemes' 3DEXPERIENCE platform and its design and collaboration applications.
Students at the center will learn how to design products using augmented reality/virtual reality environments, how to incorporate new technologies into their product designs, and how to bring their designs to life using robotics and additive manufacturing/3D printing.
Dassault Systemes used to be based in Lowell before moving to Waltham.
The future center at UMass Lowell's Kitson Hall is part of the company's strategy to partner with academic institutions to help create the workforce of the future.
"We're thrilled that the students of UMass Lowell will get real-world experience with the tools and technologies that will shape the industries of tomorrow, and put them in the best position to hit the ground running on Day 1 of their careers," said Dean Marsh, managing director of North America Dassault Systemes.
This new facility expands Dassault Systemes' existing relationship with UMass Lowell -- which includes membership in PERC, the Printed Electronics Research Center, as well as support for the school's senior capstone project.
Dassault Systemes will support the new 3DEXPERIENCE Center through financial contributions as well as software licenses.
"Incorporating new technologies like 3D design, digital simulation and 3D printing into our curriculum is essential for preparing our students for careers in the 21st century," said Joseph Hartman, the university's dean of engineering.