Community college awarded stimulus funds

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

GOOCHLAND, VA (WWBT) - J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is getting $720,000 for the program. It's one of 48 projects selected by the Department of Energy to receive some 2-point-4 billion in grants.

"What the grant has to do is development of career study certificate in electrical drive vehicles which is where our industry is going," said Lawrence Schwendeman, Automotive Professor at J. Sargeant Reynolds.

In all, five courses will be developed - targeting the inner workings of electric vehicles, plug in hybrids and fuel electric vehicles for students.

"This will allow prepare them to work on emerging technology," said Schwendeman.

He says more drivers are going green and using energy efficient vehicles.

"As gas prices continue to fluctuate and go up people look for more economical vehicles"

At the same time -- Schwendeman says many automotive schools only offer limited training when it comes to fixing these vehicles. But with the stimulus grant that will change. Right now, it's unclear exactly when the money will trickle down to the college

"If I got the money tomorrow - I could develop a course in the spring semester. In fact we're running the first course which will be intro to hybrid and hybrid safety," he said.

Schwendeman says that course had already been developed in anticipation of receiving stimulus funds.

J. Sargeant Reynolds is one of two community colleges nationwide to receive stimulus money to star such a program. The grant will also be used to offer students an advanced electronics course for electric drive vehicles.

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