Initiative helps to educate workforce for electric vehiclesSep 24, 2021 11:34AM ● By Becky Ginos
WSU Automotive Technology instructor Blair Newbold shows a group of high school students what’s under the hood of a Tesla. Photo by Becky Ginos
LAYTON—Electric vehicles are the wave of the future in promoting the use of clean energy. As part of that effort, Weber State University’s Department of Automotive Technology is launching an initiative to help educate the workforce to prepare for this changing industry.
Talent Ready Utah’s Strategic Workforce Grant, allocated by the state legislature, supports the initiative through stackable degree programs to meet workforce needs both locally and regionally. Initiative partners include Davis Technical College and the Davis School District.
Through the stackable degree programs, students can advance their education while gaining the skills necessary to be employed at automotive repair facilities, filling the need for electric vehicle technicians throughout the state.
“We’re excited to launch this program that is needed in this state,” said Scott Hadzik, Chair/WSU Automotive Technology during a press conference at Weber State University/Davis announcing the initiative. “The training will help students at community colleges, technical colleges and high schools to understand the value of this technology. Not only will it provide competent staff in this technology to provide the services needed in this industry it also provides well paying jobs for our students.”
“I’m passionate about how we can merge clean air with high paying jobs,” said Rep. Suzanne Harrison. “Dealerships need your expertise and skill. You’re key to building cleaner vehicles.”
This is a wonderful program, said Sen. Chris Wilson. “We’ve been in the car business for 78 years in Logan. My dad was a visionary man. He hired a female service manager 35 years ago and she’s still with us. There’s a number of women coming into the tech industry. We want to let them know the field is wide open.”
“Half the people I work with in clean air are women,” said Tammie Bostick, Executive Director, Utah Clean Cities. “It’s a great field. We need technicians and engineers to work with the fuels. The whole thing is open.”
Tesla is a giant computer run by autonomous technology, she said. “It’s an exciting time. We’re getting STEM programs in K-12 and into college. We have to figure out how to get people interested.”
It’s like stackable Lego pieces, said Bostick. “The skills you had as young people are preparing you for the technology of today.”
“It's the perfect way for Go Utah, policymakers and students to synergize something that can make a difference in the world,” said Brad Mortensen, President of Weber State University. “If we all work together for a common cause we can do something great.”