Johnson Controls helping develop next generation of electric vehicle technicians
By Anthony Capkun
September 26, 2012 – Johnson Controls Inc. is donating a plug-in electric (PEV) and all-electric vehicle (EV) to the automotive program at Milwaukee Public Schools’ Pulaski High School, creating what the company believes to be the first program in the States (and likely Canada, too) to give students dedicated access to advanced vehicle technology.
“We need to develop a talent pipeline with the skills required to work with increasingly complex vehicle technology,” said MaryAnn Wright, VP of technology & innovation for Johnson Controls Power Solutions. “Our expectation is that these vehicles will inspire students to not only think about what it takes to repair automobiles, but inspire them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math [STEM].”
The donation is timed to support the Pulaski’s new advanced automotive technology curriculum which is enabled by a series of U.S. Department of Transportation grants for instructor training and classroom upgrades. Johnson engineers and scientists will also serve as mentors and coaches to help the students learn about these new technologies in an effort to encourage them to pursue STEM-based disciplines in college.
“Our students deserve access to the very best learning tools and Johnson Controls has stepped up to make that happen,” said MPS superintendent Gregory Thornton. “We’re grateful for the business partnerships—like ours with Johnson Controls—that allow our students to truly understand, explore and get a head start on post-secondary and career options.”
The program at Pulaski provides the students with opportunities to explore careers in auto maintenance, repair, vehicle design and engineering. It also comes as local and state leaders have focused on workforce development and exposing students at an earlier age to career options and the post-secondary pathways to achieve them.
Students in Pulaski’s automotive program can earn credits to community colleges. This new partnership with Johnson Controls also now builds a bridge with the University of Wisconsin system.
“The Milwaukee Public Schools and Johnson Controls are two of our university’s most important partners,” said University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Michael R. Lovell. “Through their partnership here at Pulaski High School, I anticipate all of Southeastern Wisconsin, including our university, will benefit because we will have more young people prepared for their academic and professional futures.”