The new training program will allow City of Columbus technicians to work on its growing alternative-fuel fleet.
 - Photo by Andy Gottesman, courtesy of City of Columbus

The new training program will allow City of Columbus technicians to work on its growing alternative-fuel fleet.

Photo by Andy Gottesman, courtesy of City of Columbus

The Ohio Chapter of the Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association (MEMA-OH) has struck an arrangement for Columbus State College (CSCC), the local community college, to develop and provide vocational training for fleet technicians.

Technicians will be able to obtain training during normal work hours at the college’s designated vocational training center. They will earn college-level course credit toward a degree, said Kelly Reagan, fleet administrator for the City of Columbus and chairman of MEMA-OH.

The classes are focused on alternative fuels to ready technicians for the City of Columbus’ compressed natural gas (CNG) and Smart City commitments to reduce fleet greenhouse gases. Columbus has an extensive CNG fleet and has committed to adding 200 electric vehicles (EVs) by the end of 2019; the greater Columbus region is expected to add 300 EVs total. The city currently has 93 electric vehicles.

Three classes are available: Hybrid Vehicles: Theory and Operation; Advanced Alternative Fueled Vehicles: Diagnosis and Repair; and Advanced Hybrid Vehicles: Diagnosis and Repair.

The courses will begin in October and end May 2019. The City of Columbus will be sending eight technicians through the customized training. CSCC is using a grant to cover the majority of the cost of the classes, and each fleet will pay the remaining costs for its technicians.

Technicians will attend training one day per week during work hours and will come to work the remaining days of the week. Fleet management will ensure that it can handle the reduced man hours and keep up its metrics.

The majority of vocational training is at night, after the workday, which reduces personal time. Training during regular work hours “allows our technicians to get trained during their best time of the day, at their premium learning time,” Reagan said.

Reagan said other MEMA-OH fleets have expressed interest in the program.

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