Lawrence Technological University (LTU) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Sustainable Water Works (SWW) located in Midtown Detroit’s TechTown to provide a certificate program in virtual design and support for researchers, inventors, and entrepreneurs who want to develop their product ideas for investment.
Sustainable Water Works will host training in CATIA and other computer design software to train small business designers, high school graduates, and college students. SWW will also retrain displaced workers preparing for new jobs in computer design that are opening up in many sectors. LTU will provide the instructor and certificate program curriculum.
“There is a real need in the Detroit innovation community for CAD designers, and we want to provide an opportunity for people to prepare themselves for those jobs,” said SWW Technology Principal Jay Richardson.
The SWW Innovation Factory is a virtual product idea and development design studio. A researcher, inventor or entrepreneur can come to Sustainable Water Works to transform an idea for a new product in any business sector to a digital blueprint. SWW hires interns from LTU’s Transportation and Industrial Design Program to support the SWW product development process.
“Researchers and inventors need a technology bridge between a great idea and a robust prototype. The Innovation Factory and our product development process provides them with the ability to turn the idea into a design, the design into a robust engineered product, and the product into a working prototype, all in the virtual world before a physical prototype is even built,” Richardson said.
The student interns will come from the transportation design and industrial design degree programs in LTU’s College of Architecture and Design.
“Our students work with the same computer design platforms that are used in industry, so they have a lot to offer to entrepreneurs,” said Keith Nagara, director of the two design programs at LTU. “At the same time, this is a real opportunity for our students to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom.”
The New Economy Initiative for southeast Michigan (NEI) provides grant funding for the Innovation Factory at Sustainable Water Works.
Launched in 2008, NEI is committed to increasing prosperity and expanding opportunity for all residents and communities in the region. Ten national and local foundations have committed $100 million to this eight-year initiative to accelerate the transition of metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy. For information, go to http://neweconomyinitiative.cfsem.org/
Sustainable Water Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit building a collaborative network of partners committed to sustainable water public policy, innovative products and new businesses in Michigan. For information, go to www.sustainablewaterworks.org,