CTE & NH Colleges Tackle Electric Car Tech

Electric car technology is on the rise, and with it comes a need for new training. To meet this need, a handful of high schools and colleges across the state will adopt “build it yourself” reusable electric vehicle kits this summer.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Centers

In a partnership with The Switch Lab out of California, four CTE centers will receive a reusable kit and curriculum to build a street legal electric car. It’s a great fit for CTE Centers, which introduce middle and high school students to career and college pathways through hands-on learning.

“It is very exciting to see our partnership with The Switch Labs come to life and be able to deliver another engaging, career pathway-oriented learning opportunity to students,” said Frank Edelblut, Commissioner of Education, in a NH Department of Education press statement. “Coming through this program, these students will be ready for real 21st century workforce challenges!”

To make this all possible, the NH DOE Bureau of Career and Technical Education awarded grant funding for CTE Centers. The participating CTE Centers are:

The Switch Lab also provides training for teachers. “The goal is for students and teachers from multiple CTE programs (auto, engineering, electrical, etc.) to work together on the car build,” said Eric Frauwirth, Administrator of the Bureau of Career Development in a press statement. “As electric vehicles increase in popularity, it is important that our graduating students are equipped to work in that field.”

Community Colleges

Like CTE Centers, community colleges strive to keep pace with workforce needs. And thanks to Perkins Innovation Funding, four of the NH community colleges were able to sign up to host the electric car program.

Participating colleges are:

The colleges also plan to use a collaborative approach. “It’s very interdisciplinary. It’s auto, computer science, physics, and electronic engineering technology,” said Robyn Griswold, VP of Academic Affairs at Nashua Community College. NCC will meet with the Switch Lab staff in August. “It’s a weeklong training where the team gets to build the car, and get used to how it works,” said Griswold.

Once the training is done, it’s up to each college to decide how to use the program. It could be in career training workshops, a school club project, or featured in a new automotive or computer science class. Because it’s reusable, it can be taken apart and recreated in different classes, workshops, or clubs.

Comparing Notes

Whatever the colleges decide, they’ll hopefully join the CTE Centers next year to share what they’ve learned. “We’re hoping to hold an event in the spring, potentially at the track in Loudon, where we can bring all four of the cars, and potentially any of the college vehicles, out to the track to showcase what they’ve done,” said Frauwirth in a recent podcast.

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