Unfortunately (in my opinion) Rockwell doesn't do a very good job getting the news about this great program out to those who need it. In fact, searching AB.com as a member of the general public I couldn't find a single mention about this program 🙁
However, as I've worked to sign-up several High Schools and Colleges over the years I'll give you a basic rundown on the program in this article, and if you feel it fits your situation you can then get the full details from your local Authorized Distributor or Rockwell Automation representative.
Many Schools and Colleges have seen their budgets shrink in recent years, but at the same time many know they need to upgrade their courses to remain relevant. And in some cases, industry has actually approached educational institutions asking for graduates with PLC programming skills, as in many areas of the country there is a shortage of qualified individuals.
Many instructors have already researched upgrading their courses to include PLC's, but often find the cost of enough PLC's and Programming Software to outfit an entire classroom would decimate their budget. Others, while well aware that Rockwell Allen-Bradley has the lionshare of the American PLC/PAC market, believe it would be too expensive to use A-B and settle for what they think is a cheaper solution buy purchasing from online vendors.
But in this case, Rockwell Allen-Bradley is very likely the lowest cost provider. That is, if you know about their Educational Support Program and Toolkit.
I've had instructors call in saying they've scraped together enough money to buy a couple of PLCs. But after they found out and sign-up for Rockwell's Educational Toolkit, they were able to triple their hardware purchase with the same budget by taking advantage of the Toolkit discounting.
This program is a “school year” subscription to obtain what Rockwell calls an “Instructor's Toolkit.” It includes one toolkit license of dozens of Rockwell's most popular software packages, a full “school year” of web based and telephone technical support (8-5 M-F,) and the ability to buy Allen-Bradley hardware and Rockwell Software at extreme discounts.
The steps to sign-up for the toolkit include contacting your local Rockwell representative to begin the application process. The application is an online form which the instructor fills in with (1) his professional contact info, (2) information about his accredited High School, College, or University, (3) information pertaining to the course he will be teaching, and (4) a purchase order for the current years cost, roughly ~$199 (as of 10/18/2013)
So if you would like to outfit your classroom will Allen-Bradley hardware and Rockwell Software at a fraction of the normal price, just call your local Rockwell Automation office or Authorized Distributor and ask them for information on Rockwell Automation's Educational Support Program and Toolkit.