Energy Commission Award Provides High School Students Experience In Clean Transportation Field

Janea A. Scott, the California Energy Commission’s lead commissioner on transportation, recently toured three Southern California high schools where students are building road-safe electric vehicles with the help of an innovative project that the Energy Commission funded.

“California is transitioning to low-carbon fuels and zero- and near zero- emission transportation in order to meet its ambitious climate change goals and federal air quality standards. Ensuring a well-trained workforce to develop, deploy, and shepherd this transition is critical,” said Scott.

The project is a collaboration between the high schools and the Cerritos Community College District’s Advanced Transportation Technology and Energy Center.

A $1 million grant awarded to the center by the Energy Commission funded Switch Electric Vehicle kits for 12 California high schools—focusing on schools serving underserved communities, minority groups, and regions impacted by poor air quality. The kits offered students real-world experience and high-tech job training with electric vehicles, which accounted for more than 6 percent of new car sales in California in 2018.

The Energy Commission is investing in clean energy job training programs to help support the state’s transition to clean transportation. The 2018-2019 state budget provides the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program with $8.5 million to accelerate the deployment of zero-emission vehicle infrastructure through manufacturing and workforce training & development.

Scott’s visits included Schurr High School in Montebello and Valley High School in Santa Ana. Schurr High regularly competes in the world- renowned Shell Eco-Marathon energy efficiency competition. At Valley High, students in the Automotive Transportation & Logistics Academy can become certified automotive technicians before graduating from high school. Scott also visited Artesia High School in Lakewood, which uses block scheduling to maximize the time students can spend on education to career courses like automotive repair.

“I am inspired by the leadership these students are showing, the creativity and innovation,” she said. “Everything the students are learning in this space will guide us into the future of cleaner transportation. We can’t do it without the students’ engagement and enthusiasm, or the educators who are providing students with this meaningful, hands on experience.”

Photos courtesy of Kyusung Gong Photography.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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