Developing skilled and knowledgeable talent to help shape the future of on-road transportation
Working with Argonne National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program launched the Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program (CCUWDP) in 2010 to provide the automotive and energy sectors with skilled and knowledgeable talent to help shape the future of on-road transportation. A national network of nearly 100 Clean Cities coalitions brings together stakeholders in the public and private sectors to deploy alternative and renewable fuels, idle-reduction measures, fuel economy improvements and emerging transportation technologies. Each semester, interns are placed at many of the Clean Cities Coalitions where they increase their knowledge of alternative transportation as well as assist the Coalitions in increasing awareness of alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies.
Working with DOE, Argonne has continued to nurture the program and to create exponential growth; the number of CCUWDP interns has quadrupled since the inaugural semester in Summer 2010. The CCUWDP is unique in the amount and quality of experience it provides to its students. Because of the grass-roots, localized nature of the Coalitions, students are incorporated into the day to day tasks of running the Coalition, and participate in projects at a very involved level.
The interns come from universities across the country, and from a variety of majors, including engineering, public relations, marketing, environmental science, business, and public policy. Roughly half of the interns are undergraduates, with the other half of them completing Master’s degrees. This wide array of backgrounds proves useful to Coalitions, as the students work on a diverse portfolio of projects unique to each location. In the past interns have been involved with activities such as data analysis, business plans, event planning, website development, public relations and marketing plans, interfacing with stakeholders, idle reduction campaigns, research, and more. The program not only provides the students with valuable experience, but lends fresh talent and skills to the Coalitions.
The program has been a path to a career for the students; many have obtained jobs with the Coalitions after graduation, or with Clean Cities stakeholders, all in jobs that will impact the field of energy and cleaner vehicle fleets.