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Courtesy of Local Motors this fall, Pittsburg High School will offer an advanced, hands-on course in repairing and maintaining self-driving electric vehicles
Courtesy of Local Motors this fall, Pittsburg High School will offer an advanced, hands-on course in repairing and maintaining self-driving electric vehicles
( Source: Local Motors)

Pittsburg high school plugs in a self-driving shuttle to its advanced auto classes

| Author/ Editor: Erika Granath / Erika Granath

The automotive industry today is all about technology. The demand for highly skilled automotive engineers is about six times as high as the supply, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group. Playing its part, Pittsburg High School just announced it's adding an automotive program to its course catalog.

Teenagers with the dream of pursuing a career in automotive engineering can consider themselves lucky if they live in Pittsburg, the U.S.

Pittsburg High School recently became the first school in the state of California, and possibly the nation, to add an automotive program to its course catalog. With vehicle manufacturers facing a shortage of automotive engineers, both the program and its graduates are likely to be desired by many.

Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) and Local Motors recently announced that they're teaming up to provide a unique opportunity for students who are interested in automotive careers to engage in technical education around shared, electric, autonomous vehicles.

Olli at GoMentum Station, co-founded by CCTA
Olli at GoMentum Station, co-founded by CCTA
(Source: Local Motors)

Local Motors donates a 3D printed electric shuttle for educational purposes

Local Motors—the creator of the world's first 3D-printed car and the maker behind Olli, a low-speed, electric, autonomous vehicle —announced it will donate one of its Olli shuttles to Pittsburg High School's new advanced auto shop program. In addition to the vehicle, Local Motors will make the technical experts on its engineering team available to periodically mentor Pittsburg High School auto shop instructors and students.

Auto shop program to start in the fall of 2020

Pittsburg High School's tech-centric advanced auto shop program is expected to begin in the fall of 2020.

This advanced auto program is part of California's K12 Strong Workforce Program grant the school district received in partnership with CCTA. It's aimed at engaging youth in technical education, sparking interest in the transportation industry, and exposing them to autonomous and electric vehicle maintenance and repair.

Vehicle manufacturers are facing a shortage of engineers

Pittsburg High School is truly hitting the needle on the head with this new program.

Just about every car manufacturer—including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar, and Toyota—has announced plans to build more electric vehicles and phase out cars with internal combustion engines. Electric vehicles will make up 57 percent of passenger car sales globally by 2040, according to BloombergNEF's 2019 Electric Vehicle Outlook.

Building tomorrow's sophisticated electric vehicles, many with self-driving features, will require engineers who have advanced skills.

Electric vehicles and autonomous-car industries could create up to 115,000 U.S. jobs in the next ten years, according to a report from Boston Consulting Group and the Michigan Mobility Institute. Finding such people won't be easy, according to the report.

Automakers and their suppliers are already experiencing a significant talent shortage because they are competing with technology companies. The future students of the auto shop program at Pittsburg High School are likely to be in high demand ones they enter the job market.