by Shannon Brescher Shea
While most of us believe our jobs are benefitting "future generations," Clean Cities is directly influencing the next set of clean transportation leaders with a slew of workforce development initiatives. From pairing college students with coordinators to providing specialists with continuing education, Clean Cities is finding new ways to educate us all.
Providing benefits to both students and coalitions, the Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program has placed 80 interns with 46 different coalitions since it was launched in the summer of 2011. Run by Argonne National Laboratory, the program helps match students interested in sustainable transportation with appropriate coalitions. Interns carry out a variety of responsibilities, including gathering market data, organizing events, reaching out to university fleet managers, and creating communications products. By providing a stipend, the program helps students focus exclusively on their Clean Cities' responsibilities and gives them the flexibility to move if needed. See the news section below to find out which coalitions have been selected to receive interns for the Fall/Winter 2011 season.
After only a few semesters, several interns have moved on up in the world, applying the skills they gained in their internships to long-term jobs.
In fact, beyond connecting with potential interns, DOE's student competitions are educating future engineers and science communicators. The latest competition, EcoCAR, wrapped up in June 2011 with two weeks of intense testing. After the competitors ran their vehicles for the final time and finished their presentations, the overall winner emerged - Virginia Tech's plug-in hybrid flex fuel vehicle (PHEV FFV). The Ohio State University won second place with their PHEV FFV, as well as the prize for Best Collaboration with a Clean Cities coalition. The University of Waterloo placed third with their unique PHEV fuel cell vehicle.
With the EcoCAR 2: Plugging into the Future competition gearing up this fall, coalitions have a great opportunity to get involved right at the beginning. In fact, each team's outreach coordinator is required to work with a local Clean Cities coalition or other community group to maximize their score. EcoCAR 2 teams can provide a coalition with opportunities to connect with the local university, conduct outreach to elementary schools, and of course, possibly recruit a great intern.
So no matter what your age or professional level, Clean Cities has educational opportunities available for you.