Yuba Community College District (YCCD) was recently awarded $511,400 in funding through the Yuba College-North Central Counties Consortium (NCCC) Regional Automotive Technician and Hybrid Technology Project grant provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The ARRA funding was provided to focus both on supporting the growth of the alternative fuel and energy industry and training low-income, unemployed and dislocated workers and under-skilled adults ages 18 and older who face challenges in regaining employment. Located in Marysville, Calif., Yuba College will use the grant money to help prepare and train individuals for the growing demand of automotive hybrid technicians and to provide first responder Hybrid Electric Vehicle Safety Training for police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and tow truck drivers.

“The Yuba Community College District is strongly committed to helping those in our community who are unemployed today to get the tools necessary to not only get back to work quickly, but also give them the training to remain employed with jobs that will be in high demand well into the future,” said Beatriz Espinoza, vice chancellor of Educational Planning and Services for YCCD.

The training began in June with 40 individuals served in the automotive technologies program and more than 200 individuals served in the first responder training during the program’s first month. The First Responder Safety Training for Hybrid Vehicles is taught by a National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium-trained auto and fire safety teacher. Each eight-hour workshop involves an introduction to hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) including alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles; biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel); gaseous fuels (natural gas and propane); and electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles. Then, the workshop delves into first responder approach, safety features, hybrid safety equipment, hybrid electric hazards, high-voltage disarming and hands-on training with HEVs.

Businesses collaborating with YCCD under the grant include the NCCC, the Automotive Advisor and the Public Safety Advisory Committees, Caltrans District 3, Golden State Auto Service, Archie’s Automotive, Wal-Mart Lube, Napa Auto Parts, Dow Lewis Motors, Yuba City Toyota, Yuba City Honda, John L. Sullivan and Wheeler Oldsmobile.

“Fostering private and public partnerships to get people working in the fields of tomorrow is the key to spur economic development in our region, which in turn will help alleviate the double-digit unemployment we have seen in our communities over the last couple of years,” Espinoza added. “We are extremely excited about the increased workforce development that these ARRA dollars will bring to our communities.”

One of the NAFTC’s National Training Centers, the Yuba Community College District spans eight counties and nearly 4,200 square miles of territory in rural, north-central California. It has colleges in Marysville and Woodland, an educational center in Clearlake and will be adding outreach facilities in Sutter and Colusa.

Yuba first responders

Students and first responders in the Yuba Community College District have the opportunity to be trained in automotive hybrid technology and first responder hybrid vehicle safety. Credit: YCCD

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