In the less than distant future, your car may drive itself, but the infrastructure that communicates with your vehicle will require a staff of highly trained technicians.
The supply of talented technicians able to maintain and support the technology required for the autonomous transportation network will be critical for society to take advantage of the numerous safety, social, and economic benefits of this incredible technology.
Expert technicians in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and Connected Vehicle (CV) technology are in short supply and with the autonomous revolution advancing closer each day the demand is continually increasing.
Integrated Global Dimensions just completed Phase 1 of a US DOT Federal Highway Administration Small Business and Research Innovation grant, and is launching a new program called Transportation Tech. This program will create the training necessary to fuel the educational needs of technicians to transform the way society moves.
- Transportation Tech will be an online education program that will feature multiple levels of training on ITS and CV Technology.
- The training will be made available for technicians currently in the field as well as promoted to community colleges and technical schools across the country to increase the quantity of professionals in this area.
- Additional components of the program will include troubleshooting forums, smart phone applications, and an extensive list of vendors and consultants who provide ITS/CV support services and equipment.
“The education and professional development of technicians in the ITS and CV fields is pivotal to the future of transportation. Without the suitable education and training for technicians and ITS professionals, the technology advancements for vehicles and automation will not be deployed to the fullest extent in which our nation could benefit in terms of lives saved, accidents reduced, and economic gains,” said Valerie Lefler, President and CEO of Integrated Global Dimensions.
Working in these advanced fields requires a basic knowledge of systems engineering, hardware, software, and networking. This combination of skills is not currently taught in any formal education program.
Mac Lister, USDOT ITS Joint Program Office Program Manager for Knowledge and Technology Transfer, federal lead on the project says: “I believe that Community Colleges have an important role to play in educating the future workforce in ITS and Connected Vehicle technologies. The workforce will need to address a wide and diverse set of skills. Community Colleges can and should make a significant contribution for the preparation of these future workers.”
IGD has partnered with two of the top community colleges in the country to help design the training:
- Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, Nebraska
- Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Metropolitan Community College plans to start promoting this training opportunity to students in their programs and in the programs of their respective partners around the country.
Dr Tom Pensabene, Executive Director of the Workforce Innovation Division at Metropolitan Community College says: “As MCC moves to open its new Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology, we are excited to have intelligent transportation systems as our first new, leading-edge project. We are especially impressed with the quality of the team at IGD and look forward to developing efficient, effective and appealing technician training.”
The need for an effective and accelerated training program for ITS and CV technicians has been boldly underscored by the Obama Administration’s announcement of the allocation of nearly four billion dollars to the development and deployment of connected and autonomous vehicle technology.
“With the rapid rise of connected vehicles, I am delighted to have the Workforce Development Department at Washtenaw Community College play a leading role nationally in both assessing the skills gaps of vehicle to infrastructure technician and engineering jobs and developing state-of-the art online training programs that will address these skills gaps and prepare the 21st century workforce,” says Dr Michelle K. Mueller, Vice President of Economic, Community & College Development.