Lake Area adds new electric and hybrid vehicle technician program

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 6:12 PM CST

WATERTOWN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Hybrid and electric vehicles are becoming more popular here in South Dakota, and Lake Area Technical College is making sure their automotive technician students have the skills to service them. The automotive technology department at Lake Area is working toward adding an Electric and Hybrid Vehicle program, training students for the future.

”The industry is moving at a such a rapid pace toward EV and hybrid that we started talking to our advisory board and they showed a great interest in getting this program going as quickly as we could,” said Automotive Technology Instructor Thor Green.

The new Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technician program will give students an additional year to expand their skills, something not offered anywhere else in the state.

”As of right now, we’re going to be the only ones offering this program. We’re gonna definitely set ourselves apart being the only one in the state right now. I’m hoping that we’re actually ahead of the curve,” said Green.

Students believe this adaptation to change will give them a better chance at being hired after graduation.

”That’s kind of where the industry is going. So, if I have a year of education in this program, that’ll pretty much put me in a whole other spectrum. So, I’m kind of looking toward the future of things. The electric cars are definitely my kind of area,” said student Sam McKay.

Scott Shephard, a former Lake Area professor, lent his own vehicle to help students get a head start at working with electric cars.

”My wife and I own a Mustang Mach-E. We’ve had it since June. This is the second time we’ve brought it up here. We brought it up about a month ago for the guys to look at. The teachers say the young people are very interested in this technology and also interested in the environment as well,” said Shephard.

The program is slated to begin in the fall of 2022, barring any setbacks.

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