It’s not just how we think of driving that Tesla aims to change, but how we think of mechanics and education as well.
As the industry shifts more towards electric vehicles, it’s going to take a new set of skills to service the cars of tomorrow. Instead of getting hands dirty under the hoods of cars, mechanics will be more likely to give their wrists a workout checking code on a laptop. With an increasing focus on software, it’s crucial to have teams trained for the unique needs of electric and autonomous vehicle maintenance.
That’s where Tesla comes in. The manufacturer has rolled out a 12-week course that’s being adopted by colleges to teach students the skills they need with the added bonus of job security upon completion. The Start program has already been adopted by six schools, most recently Miami Dade College. It is also currently offered in Washington, California, North Carolina, Detroit and Michigan.
It’s a new kind of model within the field. True, there have been other programs where a company creates a program that offers jobs–or in the case of McDonald’s a degree in Hamburgerology. What differentiate’s Tesla’s program is that the company is coming into existing main-stream institutions of higher learning and providing the specific training their employees need, helping them seamlessly transition from school to work.
The Start program is a 12-week concentrated capstone course integrated into an existing automotive curriculum. The description offered by the company’s website reads, “Tesla START is an intensive training program designed to provide students across North America with the skills necessary for a successful career with Tesla—at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution. During the program, students will develop technical expertise and earn certifications through a blended approach of in-class theory, hands-on labs and self-paced learning.”
If successfully completed, graduates of the course are guaranteed work at any of Tesla’s service stations, with relocation assistance granted if desired and a competitive salary a given. Tools and educational materials are all provided by Tesla at the start. If it sounds too good to be true, there is a small catch: students are expected to devote themselves completely for the duration of the course. No other courses can be taken simultaneously, and part-time jobs are verboten, as the program is a full-time commitment. According to Clean Technica, there is a $9.46 an hour stipend though, to help make ends meet during the process.
Overall, it’s a bold, innovative step by the automaker. While others in the industry are directing their efforts toward creating electric vehicles, the Start program from Tesla will ensure that their models are viable once purchased. It shows some impressive forethought and sets the company as one to keep an eye on as the race for electric dominance moves ever forward.