Green technology has played an important role in Job Corps' efforts to improve the program's equipment for training practices and to realize daily efficiencies. Job Corps centers were awarded approximately $15 million for the purchase of simulators, electric vehicles, and computers.
Ninety-three centers purchased electric vehicles, 89 purchased computers, and 64 purchased simulators. This equipment was used for training, as instructional tools to educate students, and for daily center support tasks such as security patrols and equipment transfers.
Centers that purchased electric vehicles are experiencing fuel cost savings at such a rate that Job Corps expects to save $3 million to $5 million over the first three years following full implementation.
Low-speed utility vehicles resembling golf carts are used for general purposes on center, including security patrols and short trips outside the center, while larger electric-powered buses and trucks are used for longer trips and for transporting materials and supplies across campuses.
"If you look at the Global Electric Motorcars vehicle, which we purchased for our property manager to move goods around the center, it already has 100 miles on it just in a couple of months," said John Dionne, Facilities Maintenance director at the Penobscot Job Corps Center. "In the past, we were using an eight-passenger van, so if you calculate just the gas savings, it's very good. There are also no emissions, so it's a very clean vehicle."
The Atlanta Job Corps Center now relies heavily on its electric vehicles for security patrols and transportation of supplies and equipment - reducing dependence on gas-powered vehicles.
When most people think of electric vehicles, cars often come to mind. But one Job Corps center found a way to incorporate a nontraditional electric vehicle on center - an electric lawnmower. The Penobscot Job Corps Center purchased the lawnmower for Facilities Maintenance students to receive training on and assist with landscaping, and with 46 acres to maintain, the center will save on fuel costs.
Eighty-nine Job Corps centers purchased more than 11,000 new, energy-efficient personal computers (PCs). The new PCs, which were purchased to replace older computer models, meet Federal Desktop Core Configuration requirements and are compliant with the Energy Star and Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool requirements.
Centers purchased heavy equipment and driving simulators to allow students to train year-round and experience conditions and scenarios they would otherwise not be exposed to. Woodstock Job Corps Center purchased an electric simulator-solar energy module for the electrical trade.
Heavy Equipment Simulators
With heavy equipment simulators, Alaska Job Corps Center students were able to learn to drive and operate heavy machinery without venturing into the rain, sleet, snow, and wind that are frequent in Alaska. The simulators allow students to practice driving in a variety of terrains and weather conditions before they train on the real equipment on center.
In addition to allowing students to train year-round, the simulators reduce the Alaska Job Corps Center's environmental impact; since the simulators don't use gasoline, there are no emissions. The center saves on fuel, maintenance, and repair costs.
At the Sacramento Job Corps Center, Heavy Equipment Operations students helped build the heavy equipment simulators they are now training on. The project was overseen by Josh Buhlest, a Job Corps graduate.
"The simulators are a great way for students to gain valuable hands-on training time before actually being put on a real machine on center," said Buhlest. "This cuts down on the amount of fuel used to run the machines on center because the simulators are electric and portable, allowing them to be used more frequently and in various areas."
Driver's Education Simulators
Obtaining a driver's license is a necessity for many training areas, and many students come to Job Corps without one. Simulators are an important training aid in the driver's education courses.
"The simulator is really helping me get my driver's license, which I need for my trade," said Jermaine Denham, a Facilities Maintenance student at the Turner Job Corps Center. "It's very important to have your driver's license if you want a career, because you need transportation to get to your job."
The simulators, purchased by 63 centers including the Turner, Montgomery, and Finch-Henry centers, teach students safety practices and allow them to practice driving in different weather conditions and times of the day to get them ready for driving in their own vehicles. In addition to training students, the driving simulators save centers money on fuel costs and driver's education automobile maintenance.
"Being able to practice with the gear shift and get used to recognizing different roadside signs were big benefits," said Ciera Carodine, a student at the Finch-Henry Job Corps Center. "Getting comfortable with those types of things really allows a driver to focus on the road and overall safety."
Ten centers purchased welding simulators as training devices. In addition to increased training capabilities and decreased fuel and maintenance costs, simulators also assist with on-the-job safety. Students can practice their skills in various scenarios, learn about potential hazards, and perform safety protocols before ever setting foot on the job site.
Back to Top