Training and Educational Services

Our deliverables are at times reports, presentations, and/or negotiation assistance; and at other times training programs.  Examples of some of the topics we have addressed are provided below.  In some cases these efforts are conducted entirely by STG professionals; in other cases, we utilize the skills of individuals drawn from our extensive database of industry-specialized consultants. 


Businesses retain STG to obtain one or more advantages.  Their reasons typically include:  

·  to obtain knowledge and skills not possessed in-house. 

·  to focus resources on a particular problem to resolve it in a timely manner. 

·  to take advantage of an independent viewpoint . 

·  to obtain market intelligence while preserving anonymity.

Examples of Training and Educational Services

21st Century Skill Development for College Automotive Programs

As part of a two-year  Industy-Driven Regional Collaborative (IDRC) grant, Pam Gutman of STG led the auto programs of 12 colleges to focus on the 21stCentury Skills needed for student success in the automotive technician career pathway.  During this project, college faculty reviewed and updated their existing Alternative Fuel and Electric Vehicle curricula and worked with automotive employers to identify and prioritize the soft skills necessary for success in the automotive technician pathway.  The project ended with 40 faculty from 16 colleges statewide trained and certified in the New World of Work (NWoW) soft skills curriculum-- followed by the faculty then teaching the NWoW curriculum to over 600 students enrolled in 32 courses, over two semesters. 


Another result stemming from this project was the development of a ‘community of practice’ in the automotive sector—where the region’s automotive faculty work together to better prepare their students for industry and technology changes.  Consequently, Pam  is now leading another regional project with 11 community college auto programs to prepare faculty for the emerging autonomous vehicle and advanced electrical systems.  Faculty training, curriculum development and pilot courses will result from the project to prepare students for these evolving automotive technologies;  EV training sessions for municipal and county fleets in the region are being organized.

Solar Instructor Training Network for California and Hawaii

The Solar Instructor Training Network (SITN) was a 5-year US Department of Energy (DOE, Sunshot Program)-funded program managed by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).  Launched in October 2009 by the DOE in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education, its goal was to promote high-quality training for the design, installation, sales and inspection of solar energy systems nationwide. Nine regional resource and training providers support the professional development of trainers and instructors of solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar heating and cooling (SHC) technologies across the country. STG professionals provided the leadership of the SITN program for the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO), supporting training in California and Hawaii (Region 8).


During the first half of the program, the Region 8 SITN program developed and taught a series of inter-related curricula to prepare instructors within the community colleges and across the workforce development spectrum in the states of California and Hawaii in the theory and practice of PV and SHC system installation.  These Train-the-Trainer events were provided at a variety of sites for faculty, electrical union and contractor personnel. By the end of these two years, over half the community colleges in California provided either courses or full programs in PV and SHC installation.

 

The focus of the second half of the program was to improve instructor knowledge of new system technologies, add to Sales & Marketing skills, upgrade college programs, and support training of municipal building officials and other authorities having jurisdiction over the review of plans and final installations to accelerate their process and improve the quality of their efforts. STG organized and provided advanced PV train-the-trainer sessions in the SF Bay Area, LA-Orange counties, and Honolulu.  We created mini-grant programs for colleges to support their faculty in the development of Sales & Marketing courses (an approach later adopted in other SITN regions) and supported (in conjunction with the International Association of Electrical Inspectors—IAEI) trainings for members at different locations around California.  In all, we organized and supported over two dozen training sessions with over 200 attendees with a widely diverse variety of backgrounds and needs.

Hybrid and Electric Vehicle (EV) Technician Training

Working in conjunction with faculty from City College of San Francisco, STG professionals obtained a US Department of Energy (National Energy and Technology Laboratory) Transportation Electrification grant to develop a series of inter-related curricula to train students (community college and secondary school), fleet personnel and independent shop owners and technicians in the operation, safety, maintenance and repair of existing and emerging hybrid, Plug-In Hybrids (PHEVs), EVs and Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs).  Partners included auto program educators, a large municipal shop with a substantial hybrid and Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) fleet, a PHEV conversion center and a firm that has provided independent training for 10 years. The goals of the training were to prepare participants to understand existing models, and to participate in OEM vehicle-specific maintenance training in the future as new vehicles are introduced. 


This program was conducted in three phases over three years starting in 2009.  During the first phase, we developed draft curriculum (and tested existing recently-developed hybrid curriculum) with members of each target audience in San Francisco. (We refer to the students, fleet and independent technician groups as our "target audience.")  


In the second phase, we revised the curriculum for each target audience segment based on lessons-learned and expand it to the three groups in other San Francisco Bay area locations; this provided insights into how to make the curriculum and equipment needs portable. In the final phase we exported the curricula for each target audience to community colleges in Southern California to further understand how best to disseminate the developed information and curricula nationwide. We learned from this effort the importance of not just curriculum for effective training, but also the importance of trained faculty / facilitators, adequate ratio of vehicles to students, common and current test equipment, and adequate facilities in which to conduct the training.  We also learned the need to identify early the strength of attendee electrical skills!

Bridging the Biodiesel Gap

This EPA-funded effort was coordinated by STG professionals for City College of San Francisco between 2006 and 2009 in coordination with People’s Fuel, Community Fuels and the San Francisco Department of the Environment. Although the biodiesel industry had rapidly expanded in some parts of the United States during the early years of the 21st century, there remained a need to demonstrate to fleets and distributors across the West Coast that commercial scale biodiesel implementation was possible. Widespread implementation of biodiesel had been slowed by setbacks arising from fuel quality issues, lack of infrastructure, low availability, higher costs and lack of awareness and understanding on what the fuel is and how it could be used successfully. 


This STG-led project demonstrated that greater petroleum displacement could be achieved by transforming biodiesel fuel from a boutique, specialty fuel to a mainstream alternative fuel by achieving a series of sub-objectives:

·  Designing and delivering training and education programs to stakeholders including fuel users, fuel distributors, mechanics and fleet managers;

·  Establishing high quality distribution services of biodiesel across a wide region;

·  Monitoring and reporting on use of biodiesel in on- and off-road private and public fleets with large spheres of influence in various industry segments; and 

·  Making biodiesel education available in communities traditionally exposed to high levels of pollutants.


These sub-objectives were demonstrated during our three phase effort.  In Phase I, the training partners developed curriculum for use by distributors, mechanics, and fuel users and began training these groups.  In Phase II, distribution sites were enhanced and pilot fleets were encouraged and assisted to use biodiesel blends. The fleets and distribution systems were monitored, feedback from which was integrated into the project design.  Outreach and education for independent petroleum distributors and dozens of fleets was provided. Finally in Phase III,  training materials and case studies from experiences in Phase I and Phase II were created and distributed to fleets across multiple industries. The EPA’s West Coast Collaborative acted as a repository for these results.  (Presentations, check lists, case studies and other documents related to this effort can be obtained at: http://westcoastcollaborative.org/grants/ca-bridging-biodiesel-gap.htm. Note that the presentation files are quite large.)