By Nuro Team, Medium
California’s rapidly approaching widespread deployment of autonomous electric vehicles is an important step toward a greener future for everyone. This coming sea change offers plenty of much needed energy and transportation solutions, but it also brings something else: jobs.
That is why we are excited to announce the nation’s first community college program that will offer a new career pathway to prepare the next generation of electric, autonomous fleet technicians with a free tuition option. This partnership with Bay Area-based De Anza College will serve as the blueprint for Nuro’s Autonomous Upskilling Initiative — a program where Nuro will partner with community colleges in our operating areas across the nation to create education and training opportunities for workers looking to upskill.
As the first company to receive California’s Autonomous Deployment Permit, Nuro is deploying our zero-occupant, battery-electric vehicle in partnership with companies such as 7-Eleven. We have an immediate and long-term need to fill a wide variety of roles, many of which do not require four-year degrees. These include Fleet Technicians, Jr. Fleet Technicians, and Fleet Technician Supervisors. Within the past two years, we have found these specific roles require a diverse set of skills spanning automotive, computer science, and electrical, which means few candidates are trained in all the disciplines needed to maintain our innovative vehicles.
To prepare students with the cutting-edge skills needed to work on Nuro’s electric R2 vehicles and autonomous Prius fleet, De Anza’s staff worked with us to create and launch the Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Technician pathway, which combines existing coursework related to electric vehicle technology and computer programming. The pathway consists of two sets of coursework — Level I and Level II — that are anticipated to be offered as De Anza certificates.
As an option, this Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Technician program includes a completely tuition-free path. Students can complete the Level I coursework by taking free, noncredit versions of the same courses at De Anza, making this an excellent opportunity to gain valuable career training without financial cost.
“The autonomous vehicle technician partnership between Nuro and De Anza College is an exciting, pioneering moment in our economy,” said Congressman Eric Swalwell. “De Anza students have a new path toward well-paid careers, while Nuro advances self-driving technology that can make on-demand services available to all. It’s a win-win situation that should be emulated far and wide.”
It’s a great time for this initiative: a recent Steer Group report found that autonomous delivery vehicles have the potential to create and sustain an average of 3.4 million jobs annually from 2025–2035. And, as California recently required all autonomous vehicles to be zero-emission by model year 2031, the need to service these fleets will only increase. To accommodate this growth, filling these living wage, fully-benefited roles will require new talent pipelines and workforce training, as this technology does not fit neatly into traditional academic categories.
Nuro is committed to providing paid opportunities for De Anza’s students, many of whom must work part or full-time jobs while going to school. This is not only key to attracting and retaining students in the program, but provides more exposure to Nuro vehicles and the hands-on training that is critical to success in this field. As a result, De Anza students in the program may qualify for paid internships or part-time work opportunities at Nuro while completing the pathway. They will also have preference in applying to full-time positions at Nuro after completing the Level I coursework.
We are excited to provide these job opportunities in our operational areas, and look forward to pursuing similar partnerships across the country to fill these new, green tech jobs.