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Sonoma County donates electric vehicles to Santa Rosa Junior College

Three electric vehicles will be handed over to Santa Rosa Junior College this week from the County of Sonoma to support SRJC’s respected Automotive Technology Program, a career technical education program that prepares students for future employment with dealerships, smog stations, repair facilities and other businesses.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved the donation of the three underutilized Ford Focus automobiles to college last August.

The donation will support SRJC in its mission to train, educate, and develop future, advanced entry-level candidates in the field of automotive technology. The SRJC program also seeks to address the systemic labor shortage within the auto industry. The donation also will help the County of Sonoma with its strategic climate action and resiliency goals by increasing the pool of qualified electric-vehicle auto technicians and supporting the use of electric vehicles.

“We are pleased to be supporting the SRJC’s Automotive Technology Program,” said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “This contribution will benefit the entire community and its diverse workforce. Plus, it’s one more step toward making Sonoma County carbon neutral by 2030.”

Sonoma County Fleet Operations manages and maintains the county’s 1,300 vehicles and is actively working toward fulfilling the climate action and resiliency goals in Sonoma County’s Strategic Plan. Fleet Operations is also hoping to assist in meeting a new state Executive Order N-79-20, which requires all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California to be zero-emissions by 2035. In particular, Fleet has a focus on maximizing sustainability and emissions reductions in all county Fleet vehicles. Pending on funding and where feasible, Fleet plans to phase out county (owned or leased) gasoline-powered light-duty cars, vans, and pickups to achieve a 30 percent zero-emission vehicle light-duty fleet by 2026. Simultaneously, Fleet plans to upgrade the existing County-owned electric vehicle charging stations by 2023. All this creates demand for EVs and EV-educated technicians.

“We’re proud to enthusiastically support the SRJC Automotive Technologies Program. This contribution supports our partnership with the community, and a robust, ‘real-world’ education in the fast-growing electric vehicle service and repair industry,” said Tony Tsui, Assistant Fleet Manager. “Skilled trade workers are in extremely high demand, and the Fleet Division is strongly committed to supporting the growth of our community’s diverse workforce into a job sector which is not only important and valued, but supports the County’s commitment to a sustainable future.”

By making this much-needed contribution to a local partner and stakeholder, the County of Sonoma is helping the county’s diverse workforce obtain reliable and high-paying jobs well into the distant future. The county also supports a robust and ‘real-world’ SRJC education experience to help draw interest into the growing electric vehicle service and repair industry, as well as addressing the systemic EV-labor shortage within the auto industry. This will allow Fleet Operations to replace its vehicles with even more efficient, longer range EVs, promote the County as an employer of choice and contribute toward the County’s green strategic climate action and resiliency goals.

“This generous donation will enable the Santa Rosa Junior College Automotive Technologies Program to provide hands-on training in battery electric vehicles to a new generation of automotive repair technicians,” said SRJC Dean, Benjamin Goldstein. “These vehicles will help us develop the workforce needed to accelerate the electrification of our passenger vehicle fleet and meet our climate change goals in Sonoma County. We are sincerely grateful to the County of Sonoma for the generosity and foresight demonstrated with this donation.”

The SRJC Department of Industrial and Trade Technology offers the local community degrees and certificates in Automotive, Diesel, Machine Tool, and Welding, helping students obtain entry-level employment in high-demand trades and advance their careers.

This donation supports local training, educating, and development of future advanced entry automotive candidates.

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