Apr 27, 2010

Autodesk in five-year agreement with Project Lead the Way (PLTW) to Help Educate K-12 Students

SAN RAFAEL, Calif — Autodesk, Inc announced it is entering into a five-year agreement with Project Lead the Way (PLTW), the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs for K-12 schools, to provide Autodesk design software products for PLTW’s engineering curriculum.

PLTW’s curriculum engages hundreds of thousands of middle-school and high-school students through hands-on activities while providing a proven path to academic and professional success in STEM fields. Students can apply what they learn in math and science classes to real-world problems across multiple disciplines, including architectural design, civil and mechanical engineering, and animation. The organization’s project-based learning program emphasizes problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity and innovative reasoning, while fostering a love of learning. The program has been lauded for its innovative curriculum, teacher training and connection to college course credits.

“Our goal is to help integrate the same technology into school programs that is used in university classrooms and in the professional world. Autodesk tools are used throughout a wide array of diverse and thriving fields that run the gamut from Digital Entertainment Creation to sustainable design. Autodesk provides these tools to help students gain more from their academic experiences and better prepare them for successful careers after graduation,” said Joe Astroth, Ph.D., Autodesk chief education officer. “Autodesk and Project Lead the Way are committed to doing this through better education in the STEM fields. PLTW is the premier STEM education program available anywhere in the world, and we look forward to continuing to work with them on future initiatives that will benefit all students innovating toward a better tomorrow.”

As a part of the collaboration, Autodesk and PLTW agreed to lower the cost of the software by more than 20 percent for schools implementing a PLTW program. Since entering into a relationship with PLTW in 2006, Autodesk has provided more than $8.4 million in in-kind value of software to PLTW schools and the students they serve. The new arrangement dramatically increases this amount to an anticipated $16.2 million over the term of the agreement. Autodesk and PLTW deliver this value through significant discounts on software to participating PLTW schools.

“Autodesk is the industry leader in design software and the company’s investment in Project Lead the Way schools will continue to ignite the imagination of hundreds of thousands of students,” said John Lock, PLTW CEO. “We originally developed our STEM curriculum around Autodesk software because we believe it is at the center of design and innovation, from the development of video games and movies like ‘Avatar,’ to state-of-the-art Olympic arenas and world-class airplanes. The high-tech jobs of the 21st century require knowledge of Autodesk products and this partnership allows students to acquire that knowledge in high school so that they are college and career ready upon graduation from high school. Autodesk products are a gateway to innovation as approximately 70 percent of the design and engineering jobs in the United States require familiarity with this software. We are extremely grateful to Autodesk for providing PLTW students the opportunity to work with this technology in high school which gives them a tremendous advantage heading into college and careers in STEM fields.”

Project Lead the Way, Inc., is a national, non-profit organization that is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education curricular programs used in K-12 schools. The PLTW comprehensive curriculum, which is collaboratively developed by PLTW teachers, university educators, engineering and biomedical professionals, and school administrators, emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, innovation and real-world problem solving. The hands-on, project-based program engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they typically do not pursue, and provides them with a foundation and proven path to college and career success. PLTW began in 1998 in 12 high schools in upstate New York as a program designed to address the shortage of engineering students at the college level and has grown to a network of almost 3,400 middle and high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 350,000 students are enrolled in PLTW courses.