ACC joins CSU for hybrid auto training

Posted 12/3/09

College graduates are facing a poor job market, but one industry is struggling to meet the demand for skilled employees. The U.S. Department of …

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ACC joins CSU for hybrid auto training


College graduates are facing a poor job market, but one industry is struggling to meet the demand for skilled employees.

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected Colorado State University for a $5 million grant to educate the public and train the workforce about the inner workings of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Arapahoe Community College is working with the university on the program.

The grant is one of 48 advanced battery and electric drive projects announced by President Barack Obama as part of $2.4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

Nationwide, the program is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs. The CSU grant alone — part of the “Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program” — is expected to create 85 jobs to help meet a national shortage of trained hybrid/electric technicians and help rebuild the struggling U.S. auto industry.

Working with the university and ACC on the program are CSU Ventures, and the Douglas County School District in Colorado, the Georgia Institute of Technology, KShare, Ricardo, and Motion Reality Inc.

Ricardo is a provider of technology and product innovation for the vehicle industry, and Motion Reality, a pioneer in 3-D real-time engineering analysis and computer graphics whose technology received a 2005 Academy Award for groundbreaking work in all three “Lord of the Rings” films.

“We are excited to work with new partners that will allow us to remain on the cutting edge of providing innovative curriculum to our students. This will also allow current and new employees to benefit from the latest equipment and training in the hybrid/electric vehicle industry,” said Diane Hegeman, vice president for Instruction at Arapahoe Community College.

The grant is intended to help create an innovative and integrated education program that ties community outreach college/post-graduate level education in sustainable transportation, namely electric vehicles and their support systems, according to Gary Caille, director of the Systems Solutions Group at CSU Ventures.

“This effort also develops electric vehicle safety awareness education at secondary schools and in engineering education at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” he said.

For example, many people are unaware that electric vehicles run on hundreds of volts of electricity, Caille said. The Ford Escape hybrid uses 330 volts vs. a traditional automobile that uses roughly 12 volts.

“DOE’s selection of Colorado State illustrates our track record in working with community partners, businesses and government organizations to develop real solutions that help solve environmental problems globally as well as at the local level,” said Bill Farland, senior vice president for Research and Engagement at Colorado State in a press release.

“Together, we can build training programs that target the needs of industry as well as prepare our students — and young people in high school — on cutting-edge technological advancements.”

The CSU Ventures-led team plans to couple such standard instructional methods as classroom and hands-on training with distance learning. A new method, developed by KShare, an online learning company, individually aligns every student with a diverse collection of individual professionals who are available 24/7.


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