Tesla Invests in Career and Technical Education - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Elon Musk may have just flagrantly deleted his Facebook account—surely to Mark Zuckerberg’s chagrin—but his company, Tesla, has recently announced an education innovation that Zuckerberg might approve of: Tesla START.

According to CNBC, the 12-week program trains students in the high-end technical skills Tesla needs. The article goes on to state that Tesla will pay students while they’re in the program. Those who earn grades of 80% or higher are guaranteed to be hired.

“We’re working with some of the best automotive education programs in the country to educate students on electric vehicle technology and our unique approach to customer service to prepare them for a career at Tesla,” a company spokesperson is quoted as saying in the piece. “Students graduate with a full-time job, certification, and the skills necessary to succeed in the growing electric vehicle industry.”

Career and Technical Education

According to the Georgetown Center for Work and Education, career and technical education—which doesn’t lead to a bachelor’s degree but does lead to high-paying, in-demand employment—isn’t widely available to black people.

“Whites still dominate,” Anthony Carnevale told me several months ago. Carnevale is director of the Georgetown Center and lead author of the report, Good Jobs that Pay Without a B.A., released last year.

Although Carnevale told me then that the bachelor’s degree is still the gold standard, and I of course support and endorse college education for all, the reality is that not all students will go to or graduate from college, and that programs like Tesla START should be made equitably available.

Good Grades Lead to Good Opportunities

According to CNBC, Tesla START is offered through two community colleges: Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Rio Hondo College in Whittier, California. The article also states that the program “will likely be expanding soon.”

“We are proud and excited at Central Piedmont that Tesla reached out to us with the opportunity to be among their first community college partners,” Jeff Lowrance, public information officer and special assistant to the president at CPCC, says in the piece. “The automotive industry is moving towards electric systems and greater sustainability overall, and we felt like this would put our students at the cutting edge.”

The program started in January, selecting students “based on their grades, previous experience, and an interview,” so keep your grades up! Good grades lead to good opportunities.

To learn more, visit the Tesla website.

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