Advanced Automotive Workforce Development in Arizona

The objective of the Advanced Automotive Workforce Development in Arizona (AAWDA) mission is the development of coordinated curricula at Arizona universities, community colleges, and high schools that support the advanced automotive industry (which broadly includes active safety and driving automation as well as ZEVs).

This industry requires different skills than the current conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles demand, meaning that current industry employees need to “upskill” in addition to new curricula being required for current and future students. There is also a significant opportunity for Arizona to become the premier state for advanced automotive workforce training as the industry has not yet coalesced around a region or state as it has with ICE vehicles in the U.S. Midwest.

The three main objectives of the AAWDA mission are to:

  1. Decrease skills mismatch in the current and future workforce to align with the needs of the advanced automotive industry.
  2. Leverage existing curricula and reduce redundancies wherever possible at Arizona centers of education. Develop new curricula where necessary in a coordinated fashion with significant input from industry.
  3. Establish Arizona as a known region for education in advanced automotive.

The objective and deliverable for the various mission tasks are described below:

  1. Stakeholder engagement: A list of stakeholders (including significant industry participation) will be created, and regular meetings will be held with said stakeholders. This engagement will ensure that the curricula developed for the AAWDA mission are responsive to stakeholder needs, and industry needs in particular.
  2. Conduct curricula review/benchmark/gap analysis: A curricula review will be conducted to understand what advanced automotive training and education are already available at the Arizona high school, community college, and university levels. The deliverable will be a report on the review findings outlining the curricula at all three levels.
  3. Develop coordinated curricula: Using the input from tasks 1 and 2, and depending on agreement by the education centers, develop coordinated curricula that will train and educate students in the skills required by the advanced automotive industry. The deliverable will be a series of coordinated curricula for the three levels of education in Arizona. Some options that could be considered for the curricula include:
    1. Worker re-training, including continuing education programs.
    2. Certificates for micro-degrees.
    3. Connecting community college technician programs with community college/university degree programs.
  4. Dissemination: The results of this mission must be disseminated to the mission stakeholders but also to education and industry personnel more broadly. The deliverable will be articles, conference presentations, and meetings with members of the education and industry communities.