With more than 4,700 participants in the Autodesk Assistance Program and more than 5,400 product downloads to date, Autodesk is announcing significant additions to the program announced six weeks ago. The program was designed to help displaced workers in the architecture, engineering, design and manufacturing industries maintain and develop their 3D design technology skills and help improve their employability in a down economy.

Additions include the increase of available products from four to seventeen of the latest versions of Autodesk’s 2D and 3D design and engineering software, a product discount for companies that hire program participants, a new term license for AutoCAD software and enhancements to eLearning materials.

“We continue to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from both customers and partners participating in the Autodesk Assistance Program, which further validates that this program is helping customers improve their productivity and competitiveness during this challenging and volatile time,” said Steve Blum, senior vice president of Americas Sales at Autodesk. “The enhancements we’ve made to the program are a natural extension that will now also benefit employers, and further benefit our customers and partners.”

“Thank you for the Autodesk Assistance Program,” said Victoria Leichsenring, a CAD designer from Las Vegas, Nevada. “I have been out of work for 16 months and worried sick because if I went back to school I would lose my unemployment benefits. How would I keep up on my job skills until my industry starts hiring again? This program has turned out to be far more beneficial to me than going to a local collage, because I have learned so much more and at a faster pace. It also has saved me money and time. Thank you, Autodesk, for coming to the rescue and offering this program.”

Autodesk Assistance Program tools and resources are available through an online portal, where users can learn more about the program enhancements, including:

Companies that hire program participants not only benefit from the extensive training resources that have been provided to these candidates, but also receive a discount of up to 40 percent for new commercial licenses of AutoCAD, AutoCAD Inventor Suite, Autodesk Revit Architecture, and AutoCAD Civil 3D software. This offer is designed to make hiring more attractive and therefore create more jobs in the industry. Program participants needing a commercial license of software to perform consulting may also be interested in taking advantage of this offer.

Autodesk is now offering a new 12-month stand-alone license of AutoCAD 2010 or AutoCAD 2009 software for $1,995 to commercial customers in the United States. This new offering is designed to help customers meet project demands, while faced with limited budgets, project-based budgets, or simply to meet peak demand requirements in unpredictable markets.

To help firms improve productivity and examine work processes, Autodesk has made a number of resources related to Digital Prototyping (DP) and building information modeling (BIM) available on the Autodesk Assistance Program online portal. These resources cover a wide range of projects, including the types of projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

In addition to the 2010 versions of AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit Architecture, Autodesk Inventor Suite, and AutoCAD Civil 3D software, program participants can now also access a free* 13-month term (except where noted) student license of the latest version products in the following industries:

Autodesk Assistance Program members may receive full access with a separate AU Online membership. This valuable resource provides 1,000-plus session videos and handouts, including more than 400 sessions from AU 2008. The same great learning resources available to Autodesk Subscription customers are now available to Autodesk Assistance Program members, including 15-20 minute interactive modules that offer hands-on exercises and knowledge-assessment tools.

For more information about the Autodesk Assistance Program, contact your local reseller or contact Autodesk directly at assistance@autodesk.com, or visit www.autodesk.com/assistanceprogram.