Pilot program to help students learn automotive maintenance and repair skills, prepare for e-mobility career opportunities
√ Donations help expand career prospects in underrepresented communities and offer education and tools to encourage more widespread adoption of electric vehicles
The New York Power Authority on Tuesday announced the launch of an innovative pilot program to donate retired electric vehicles to regional educational institutions for use in automotive training programs to help students learn the skills needed to enter the clean energy workforce.
A press release noted, “The vehicle donations, going to underserved communities near NYPA facilities, will enhance job training and career opportunities for young New Yorkers interested in pursuing clean energy fields and illustrate New York state’s continuing commitment to advancing its nation-leading climate and energy goals.”
NYPA representatives joined with representatives from the Board of Regents, the State Education Department and the State University of New York in Albany to announce the donation program at the Capital Region BOCES.
“This program is evidence of NYPA contributing to New York state’s green energy future in a tangible way by providing opportunities for young people living in underserved communities to learn the skills they need to participate in the clean energy economy,” said Fabio Mantovani, vice president of E-mobility at NYPA. “These retired electric vehicles will provide a hands-on tool for EV and hybrid vehicle operation, maintenance and repair training as part of the BOCES automotive curriculum.”
Through this program, NYPA donated three retired fleet vehicles that can no longer be used for state transport to Boards of Cooperative Education Centers (BOCES) institutions across the state for use in their automotive technical training classes. One vehicle each was delivered to Capital Region BOCES in Albany, Orleans-Niagara BOCES in Medina, and St. Lawrence BOCES in Canton in the North Country. The program is planned to serve as a pilot for a potential wider distribution of NYPA electric vehicles for educational purposes in the future.
This announcement builds on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signing of new legislation last month to further advance the transition to clean electric vehicles and reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. Through that effort, the governor set a goal for all new passenger cars and trucks sold in New York to be zero-emissions by 2035. She also directed the Department of Environmental Conservation to release a proposed regulation that would significantly reduce air pollution from trucks.
The press release noted, “As the state increases its reliance on EVs, demand for EV-related job training and employees will increase, and NYPA’s vehicle donation program will help fulfill this need. The program also helps advance goals to increase the acceptance of electric vehicles in New York. Through NYPA’s ‘EVolve NY’ initiative, the authority is building a statewide fast-charging network to encourage drivers to opt for electric transportation. Charging infrastructure is also being installed across the state by NYPA to help public transit companies electrify their bus fleets. The idea to donate retired vehicles came from a suggestion in an employee innovation contest in 2019.”
NYPA is focusing donations in historically disadvantaged and marginalized communities located near its statewide facilities and assets. Ensuring underserved communities are included in skills training for the future low carbon economy is a priority goal of the Climate Act.
“Students who learn practical skills in an emerging field will be more likely to land competitive jobs and pursue careers that will be increasingly in demand,” said Lisa Payne Wansley, vice president of NYPA environmental justice. “These new training programs focused on new technologies and geared to the unique needs of our communities will help ensure an equitable transition for New York’s workforce as we move aggressively toward a clean energy economy.”
NYPA’s environmental justice team also helped secure funding for charging equipment, lab tools, and curriculum for future electric vehicle technicians funded by a $100,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The donated vehicles – 2012 and 2013 Ford Fusions and a 2012 Nissan Leaf – would previously have been sold at auction after five years or 75,000 miles of service were it not for this new program.
This program was conceptualized in part by Dr. Lester W. Young Jr., chancellor of the Board of Regents. He said, “As careers in technology continue to advance, our career and technical education (CTE) programs must be able to keep pace so that New York’s students can meet their educational goals and be successful in their chosen career fields. Today's announcement is a demonstration of New York state's commitment to ensuring that underrepresented communities are prepared for careers in clean energy and green technologies. On behalf of the Board of Regents, I thank Lisa Payne Wansley and NYPA for initiating this important partnership to donate three electric vehicles, and NYSERDA for funding the charging infrastructure and curriculum to Capital Region BOCES, Orlean-Niagara BOCES and St. Lawrence BOCES."
State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa said, “New York’s career and technical education programs provide students with a unique opportunity to contribute significantly to the innovative and cutting-edge companies in our state. Meaningful collaboration is critical to the success of these programs, and I am thankful to NYPA for its commitment to this program and for the gift of these vehicles for our students.”
To learn more about the program, visit the BOCES website.