SRP Helps Launch EV Program at West-MEC with Donation of an Electric Ford Focus
Students gain hands-on opportunity to prepare for a career in growing EV industry
The market for electric vehicles (EVs) has grown rapidly in recent years and is expected to continue to accelerate for the foreseeable future. With the opportunity for new careers in this growing industry, the Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) is launching a new EV program available to students across 14 public school districts and two charter districts in the Valley.
A vital component of the new program is a 2015 fully electric Ford Focus donated today by Salt River Project (SRP). The EV was formerly a part of SRP’s extensive EV fleet and will allow West-MEC students a real-world opportunity to prepare for a modern-day EV automotive technician career.
“As technology changes and with many states mandating EV adoption by 2035, we recognized the need for an education program that would offer students an opportunity to develop skills working on modern-day automobiles,” said Randy Golding, West-MEC’s automotive technology instructor. “Having an actual working EV provides students with a hands-on experience that will enhance their learning experience.”
West-MEC is a public school district that provides innovative Career and Technical Education programs. According to Golding, the District has been working with a number of manufacturers and industry leaders to develop the two-year program and is currently constructing a new building for the students to work in.
“With an estimated three million electric vehicles on the road today in the U.S., there is a clear opportunity for a career in this growing industry,” said Kate Kochenderfer, Senior Director of Supply Chain, Transportation and Flight Services at SRP. “More than ever, students need the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to be successful in an economy that is transitioning to low-carbon, electric vehicles.”
The SRP EV will provide a valuable tool for students to have exposure to the inner workings of an EV where they can apply technical knowledge and skills to repair, service and maintain a fully electric vehicle.
“We are excited to support West-MEC in building needed curriculum for EV training and hopefully some of the students who graduate from this program will end up working for SRP’s Transportation Services department and help maintain our EV fleet,” said Kochenderfer.
SRP is a leader in the EV field and has spent more than 20 years investigating and piloting electric vehicles for SRP employees, the SRP fleet and its customers. In 2021, SRP converted its entire sedan fleet to all EVs (hybrid and battery), and continually makes updates to its EV fleet as new EV vehicles become available.
Education and awareness in electric transportation are critical facets to reaching SRP’s EV- and carbon-reduction related sustainability goals. Among SRP’s 2035 Sustainability Goals, the utility plans to support the enablement of 500,000 EVs in SRP’s service territory. To reach this goal, it is critical that SRP have EV partnerships focused on information sharing, marketing, infrastructure and charging development.
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest electricity provider in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving approximately 1.1 million customers. SRP provides water to about half of the Valley’s residents, delivering more than 244 billion gallons of water (750,000 acre-feet) each year, and manages a 13,000-square-mile watershed that includes an extensive system of reservoirs, wells, canals and irrigation laterals.