SOUTHFIELD — Lawrence Technological University has signed a memorandum of understanding with Sustainable Water Works 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.
The agreement will be introduced at an open house on Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 3-5 p.m. at the Sustainable Water Works Innovation Factory, 440 Burroughs Street, Detroit.
Sustainable Water Works will host training in computer design software to train small business designers, high school graduates, and college students. They will also retrain displaced workers preparing for new jobs in computer design that are opening up in many sectors. Lawrence Tech 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. They hire interns from Lawrence Tech’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 Lawrence Tech’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 Lawrence Tech. “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 provides grant funding for the Innovation Factory at Sustainable Water Works.