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Autodesk: Help others, help yourself

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One reason that Autodesk is such a dominant brand in the CAD and design software industries is because of a very simple move that the company made bac...

One reason that Autodesk is such a dominant brand in the CAD and design software industries is because of a very simple move that the company made back when it was established to court universities and to encourage them to offer courses in its software. By the time these young architects and engineers graduated, they craved the same tools they had used throughout the education process.

Flash forward 20-plus-years, and we find Autodesk making a very similar gamble with something called the Autodesk Assistance Program. The program (which was announced about six weeks ago) allows out-of-work professionals in the architecture, engineering, design and manufacturing sectors to continue their skills development by providing access to software and education resources through an online portal. Here's a video with more information about the program.

The clincher is that businesses who hire the employees that are going through the program ALSO get some cool benefits, and not just because they are hiring someone with a newly refreshed skill set: They'll receive a product discount of up to 40 percent for new AutoCAD, AutoCAD Inventor Suite, Autodesk Revit Architecture, and AutoCAD Civil 3D licenses; they'll have access to a new, special 12-month term license for AutoCAD, in case they just need software for short-term projects; and they'll receive additions to their e-learning materials.

There are currently more than 4,600 people participating in the program, and the developer has recorded more than 5,000 downloads.

There are three specific reasons that this program is really smart:

  • Autodesk is actually getting people to "invest" in e-learning and skills development, which tends to get overlooked or delayed during tough economic times.
  • The company looks like a hero to key influencers who may be out of work now, but who may in the future hold sway over significant software buying decisions.
  • Finally, it creates a powerful motivation for an architectural, engineering or design firm to pick an Autodesk-trained new employee over other ones.

Smart on all counts.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure