COMMENTARY: Community colleges must leverage opportunities created by electric vehicle boom for their students – EdSource

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I just lately discovered the automotive my mother and father drove after I was rising up in southern India, the Hindustan Ambassador, is now being produced as an electrical automobile! That outstanding growth prompted me to replicate on the size of change taking place in our world.
With California’s current landmark resolution to section out the sale of latest gas-powered automobiles by 2035, the electrification of transportation appears to be at a serious inflection level. Electrical automobile progress appears inevitable, even simply seeing the variety of Teslas on the highway, a made-in-California EV that has been an enormous success in proving the idea.
Some trade pundits estimate the trajectory of electrical automobiles is about on the growth curve the place the Web was within the late Nineties and early 2000s. Whereas Tesla is at the moment the market chief in EV gross sales, GM and different main carmakers are anticipated to outpace its market share as shoppers begin to purchase extra reasonably priced electrical automobiles. GM is to start producing an electrical automobile for round $30,000 within the subsequent 5 years.
As chancellor of the Kern Neighborhood Faculty District, which serves about 40,000 college students on the south finish of California’s Central Valley, I’m keenly conscious of how large-scale technological deployment typically passes over traditionally disinvested communities.
Our three group schools in Bakersfield, Cerro Coso and Porterville serve predominantly minority, low-income and first-generation faculty college students. There are nonetheless pockets of our academic service space the place broadband is inaccessible, communities have chronically polluted air, a gradual provide of fresh water shouldn’t be assured, and an absence of fundamental transportation stays a serious barrier to attending faculty.
How will we guarantee this shift within the transportation sector occurs equitably in order that components of the state like mine, the place median incomes are sometimes significantly decrease than in coastal communities or main cities, don’t get left behind on this transition?
With $1.5 billion in the 2021-22 state budget for clear transportation and the billions in funding included within the just lately handed Inflation Reduction Act, public {dollars} ought to be strategically focused forward of the curve to underinvested communities, so the financial advantages and good jobs created on account of this shift attain everybody, notably these from low-income and rural communities.
Jobs demand schooling. To the best extent potential, coaching for at present’s jobs should embrace the abilities which might be formed by each present and future calls for.
To make sure that we have now the refueling infrastructure and the technicians to cost and repair EVs, our schools have already began reorienting our educational applications.
We’ve got developed a curriculum along with native automotive dealerships to coach automotive technicians in electrical automobile upkeep, which requires a unique set of abilities and information than automobiles with inside combustion engines.
To help the deployment of charging stations, we’ve partnered with electrical trades to supply pre-apprenticeship applications for college kids, which creates a pathway into well-paying jobs which might be anticipated to be in excessive demand and that may present a sustainable profession. The state of California estimates about 1.2 million charging stations will likely be wanted for the practically 8 million light-duty electrical automobiles anticipated by 2030, which can create demand for about 6,000 electrical technicians over the subsequent 15 years.
As well as, Kern Neighborhood Faculty District just lately obtained $50 million from the state to create the California Renewable Energy Lab, which will likely be house to a middle of excellence for clear transportation. Not solely does this work assure we’re not left behind within the coming transition, nevertheless it additionally offers us the chance to prepared our workforce to construct out the wanted infrastructure and fill new jobs.
I used to be inspired just lately when the California Vitality Fee selected our Kern Neighborhood Faculty District workplace in Bakersfield to carry one among its outreach conferences on the rising vitality workforce. Commissioner Patty Monahan, who’s main the transportation transition, was clear concerning the fairness considerations within the transportation sector, noting that low-income communities already lag far behind in entry to electrical automobile charging stations, and state coverage have to be oriented to make sure this challenge is addressed. The Vitality Fee understands the should be aware and intentional about making certain that sources and alternatives attain everybody.
The scope of change concerned in transitioning to EV options may be daunting. It’s as much as the state’s instructional establishments to embrace this shift in EV transportation to work with authorities and trade companions, and to capitalize on the approaching change wherever potential. If we don’t, we threat lacking out on high quality jobs, cleaner air and a extra sustainable future.
Sonya Christian is chancellor of the Kern Community College District
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That is inspiring to examine. I’m impressed with how you might be getting ready your college students for the long run and addressing fairness considerations.
Dr. Christian,
I loved this text and wouldn love to talk with you about federal grant funding to help your EV workforce coaching endeavors at Kern Neighborhood Faculty District. Please be happy to contact me on the electronic mail tackle above.
Cheryl Dettrick, MS
Useful resource Growth Providers, LLC
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