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MWCC Automotive Technician Program Awarded National Science Foundation Grant to Develop Electric Vehicle Technician Training

Eric Almeida
Eric Almeida, Director of Automotive Programs at MWCC at the Automotive Campus

The “Accelerating Massachusetts Automotive Future: Producing Electric Vehicle Technicians” is a three-year grant award in the amount of $350,000 focused on the education of technicians for advanced technology fields that drive the nation’s economy.

This project will address the emerging industry demand for technicians skilled in Electronic Vehicle (EV) technologies. The Mount will utilize funds to develop a new Hybrid and EV curriculum for an Advanced Automotive Technician Hybrid and EV certificate and degree program. The program will build upon existing curriculum focused on combustion engines with input from a team of management and service professionals from local automobile dealerships. This team will serve in a co-leadership role in the design of the academic program, assuring that outcomes meet the needs of employers.

“The rapid transition of the automotive industry from traditional combustion engine vehicles to those with hybrid and EV technologies cannot be disputed,” noted MWCC President James Vander Hooven. “This grant aligns perfectly with our mission to meet the education and workforce needs of our community.”

Over the course of the three years of the project, MWCC will recruit 40 students into this advanced automotive degree and certificate program in the repair and maintenance of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles. The project will provide professional development for faculty, equip the program with Hybrid and EV training equipment, and develop a new state-of-the-art industry-led curriculum. Additionally, tools will be developed to assess current industry workers’ life experience credits. Internship opportunities and employer partnerships will foster student engagement, increase engagement and facilitate student success.

The grant also extends opportunities to students in dual enrollment high school programs, providing them the opportunity to enroll in the entry-level Introduction to Automotive Technician dual credit course.

“On a broad scale, this project has the potential to improve the diversity of the industry by providing increased access for underserved populations, especially women, as they pursue high-demand occupations in the automotive repair technician workforce,” added Dean of STEM Veronica Guay.

“We are very excited about the opportunities this grant presents to help recruit more women to the industry, and for the opportunity for dual enrollment as well,” noted Eric Almeida. “This grant will help the Mount to provide access to auto tech careers to a diverse student population, including those who may not have been admitted into local vocational high schools due to high demand.”

Principal Investigator Eric Almeida and Co-Principal Investigator John Pignataro will be responsible for the technical direction of the project. Professor Almeida, Assistant Professor Pignataro, and Dean Veronica Guay spent the past year working through the deliberative grant development process in coordination with the MWCC Resource and Strategic Initiative Office and with the guidance of a mentor in Mentor Connect program to make this highly competitive grant a reality.