Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Understanding Additive Manufacturing Is a Plus for 3D ThinkLink Students

YouthQuest’s 3D ThinkLink training gives at-risk teens an advantage in the tech-driven job market where demand for 3D design and printing skills is growing fast.

Our students from Maryland’s Freestate, DC’s Capital Guardian and South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academies learned about the additive manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printing, and traditional subtractive manufacturing during last month’s Vocational Orientation field trips. 

In this video, Bill Nye the Science Guy explains why additive manufacturing is the way of the future.

3D Systems Director of Corporate Communications Tim Miller told the students who toured the company’s headquarters in Rock Hill, South Carolina, that demand for workers who understand 3D printing is skyrocketing. Job listings for positions requiring 3D printing skills jumped more than 1,800 percent from 2010 to 2014, according to Wanted Analytics. 
Tim Miller leads a Vocational Orientation
tour of 3D Systems

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers also reported:
… knowing how to use a 3D printer has become an in-demand job skill. A recent report from data company Wanted Analytics found that in one month 35 percent of engineering job listings from a variety of fields, including biomedical, software, and transportation industries, required applicants familiar with 3D printing and its additive manufacturing processes. The same report found that companies are having a difficult time finding candidates with the right skills.

Fortunately for our students, many of these jobs do not require a 4-year college degree, as noted in the Potomac Laser blog:
Interestingly, the new tools being implemented are often automated and the workers who run them do not need advanced degrees. These operators who have an underlying STEM-based skillset can enter the workforce with a high school diploma or associate’s degree at a pay scale averaging 61 percent higher than workers in non-STEM jobs with similar education. 

Students explore additive and subtractive
manufacturing at The Foundery in Baltimore
As our students discovered during their Vocational Orientation visits to businesses and universities, additive and subtractive manufacturing methods are often used in combination. For instance, 3D printing may be used in developing prototypes of a finished product that will be mass-produced through traditional manufacturing techniques. 

CAD (Computer Aided Design) software is used in both types of manufacturing. Our students learn Moment of Inspiration, a professional-level CAD program, so they understand the concept of giving computer-controlled manufacturing devices the instructions to create objects, whether they’re 3D printers or subtractive CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines. 

In addition to technical skills, the 3D ThinkLink Initiative gives students an advantage by emphasizing the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills. Research by PayScale ranked those at the top of the list of skills hiring managers say are lacking in recent graduates.

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