A program to allow students to experience working on an electric vehicle is being funded through a $150,000 grant from Sonoma Clean Power to SWITCHEV.

“The SWITCH EV Lab Kit provides curriculum and components for building a street-legal electric vehicle, giving students an innovative, hands-on opportunity to apply coursework in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to a real world purpose,” said Kathy Goodacre, executive director of Career Technical Education Foundation of Sonoma County.

The course also exposes students to concepts and career paths in electricity, alternative fuels, manufacturing, science, automotive technology and clean energy generation – areas of study that support industries identified as key to the continued economic health of Sonoma County.

First introduced in Sonoma County schools in the fall of 2015, Sonoma Clean Power offers a complete system package to jump start educators teaching students about electric vehicle concepts.

Sonoma Clean Power is in partnership with the Sonoma County Office of Education, SWITCH Vehicles and CTE to roll out up to 10 electric vehicle kits to local middle and high school classrooms as part of Project Make, automotive, construction, and/or engineering and design classes.

“Programs that bring relevance to the classroom, like the SWITCH Lab, help students build important technical and soft skills desired by employers, and demonstrate significant, positive impact on graduation rates,” Goodacre said.

“Sonoma Clean Power’s partnership has contributed to our mutual objective of improving student readiness for college and career, and has inspired a new generation of students to consider local careers that will improve their lives, our community and the economy.”

Leaders from Sonoma Clean Power enhanced this educational initiative by visiting with students engaged in the SWITCH EV program, and by providing information about the environmental benefits and impact of electric vehicles.

“This important community education program will continue for years to come as the SWITCH EV kits are designed to be used over and over again through the dismantling and rebuilding of the cars by future students and in other classroom applications,” Kate Kelly, director of public affairs for Sonoma Clean Power, said.

Additional investment was made by Sonoma Clean Power to leverage this educational opportunity and promote the program through a professionally-produced video highlighting the experience in the words and perspectives of program organizers, teachers and students.