Fresno City College receives grant for $2 million to help automotive tech students

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The continued transportation push towards electric vehicles, hybrids and alternative fuels also requires a technologically advanced workforce. Someone has to fix them.

A grant worth almost $2 million dollars sets up Fresno City College automotive tech students for the future.

SCCCD Chancellor Paul Parnell said, "This is an opportunity for our students to learn the cutting-edge technology that's good for our environment, that lowers emissions."

FAX buses run on compressed natural gas but next month the city will buy two electric buses with plans to add seven more.

Becky Barabe is the dean of FCC's Applied Tech Division. She said it's difficult to keep pace with the latest technology.

Barabe explained, "That workforce does not exist for maintaining those vehicles currently so it's an entire wave that we have to prepare for servicing those vehicles."

Some students are already learning about electric batteries.

The grant will allow Fresno City to buy more vehicles and diagnostic equipment to prepare students any mechanical and technical issues. Today's vehicles require much more computer analysis.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said, "We're making sure Fresnans receive the skills and training that they need to compete in 21st-century jobs."

The grant comes out of Measure C funding - a voter-approved 1/2 cent sales tax.

Fresno Council of Governments Executive Director Tony Boren said, "Everyone who buys something in Fresno County contributes to this so again, this wouldn't be happening if all you weren't spending money in our county."

Funding will be spread over five years. The auto tech department will eventually move to a new campus in west Fresno.
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