This morning, Autodesk announced its Autodesk Assistance Program. This program is meant to help people that have recently been laid off to get back on their feet by providing free CAD software (AutoCAD®, Revit® Architecture, Autodesk® Inventor® Professional, and/or AutoCAD® Civil 3D®) for 13 months and offering discounted training and certification classes.
Overall this sounds like a good offer – all you need to provide is your former employer’s name and address. Of course this is a great way for Autodesk to get people to use their software (and stick with it once the economy heats up again), but the idea is very useful.
As reported by Ralph Grabowsky, there are other CAD manufacturers that do this as well. Solidworks for example. It may also be a good idea to just talk to a software company and ask for a similar offer – even if they don’t publish it. And even if you don’t get anywhere – get yourself an external harddisk and load a bunch of trial version on it and start learning!