Posted on March 20, 2019 by Charles Morris
The high-tech auto repair shop of the future will look very different from the oily garage of the 20th century. Tesla is doing its part to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs - last summer, the company launched its Student Automotive Technician Program (START), designed to provide a smooth transition from college to full-time employment as EV technicians. Tesla has partnered with six North American colleges to integrate its START program into their curricula. So far, some 125 students around the country have graduated from the program.
Above: A look at Tesla's START program (Image: Miami Dade College)
This fall, Miami Dade College (MDC) will become the first institution in the Southeast to offer Tesla’s START program. The 12-week certificate course will be taught by professors trained by Tesla and follow a curriculum designed by the company. MDC is building a brand-new facility at its Doral campus to host the course. Tesla designed every element of the program, from the colors of the walls to the student uniforms.
As the Miami Herald reports, the demand for technicians qualified to service Tesla vehicles is strong in Florida, the state with the second-largest market for new and used Teslas (according to auto market analyst Edmunds).
“Since Tesla is the leader in the sector, there is no other program exclusively for electric vehicles,” said Antonio Delgado, Dean of Engineering, Technology and Design Studies at MDC. “The first thing the students get is a laptop, because everything is done with computers. It’s not a physical job, but rather technological.”
Students are required to have a high school diploma and a driver’s license. “The key requirement is the motivation to spend three months dedicated 100 percent to learning,” Delgado said.
According to MDC’s course description, “Students will develop technical expertise and earn certifications through a blended approach of in-class theory, hands-on labs and self-paced learning.”
Because the course is a full-time commitment, students will be paid a stipend of $9.46 per hour. Every student who passes the course will be offered a job with Tesla. Delgado said Tesla service technicians can start at about $25 per hour. Tesla will collaborate with graduates to place them at Tesla Service Centers from Coral Gables to Tampa and across North America.
Above: A look inside a Tesla Service Center (Image: Tesla)
“These are the types of programs that prepare our students for the jobs of the future,” said Delgado. “The students in the Tesla START program are going to be ready and eligible for good-paying jobs once they finish. It’s a unique opportunity.”