Stacey Phillips

Stacey Phillips photoStacey Phillips is a freelance writer for the automotive industry based in Southern California. She has 20 years of experience as an editor including writing in a number of businesses and fields.


She can be reached at sphillips.autobodynews@gmail.com. 

Monday, 14 September 2020 18:34

Techs of the Future: Preparing & Training the Agents of Change in Future Technology

Written by
Elaina Farnsworth Elaina Farnsworth


A few years ago, when people talked about connected vehicles and self-driving, Elaina Farnsworth said it was perceived as a computer-based industry.

The CEO of The NEXT Education said every person interested in intelligent transportation and mobility systems was expected to have computer science and engineering skills.


Very quickly, organizations realized the need for technicians to repair the infrastructure and technology in these vehicles after a collision.


“It is no longer your dad’s automobile,” said Farnsworth. “Cars are evolving where most of all vehicles are built with sensor technology and move data. As a technician, you will need to know a little about sensors, technology, electrical systems and mechanical systems.”


She recalls attending the SEMA Show in 2016 and listening to John Waraniak, vice president of vehicle technology at SEMA.


“He said that many years ago, we would be standing up on this stage saying, ‘I have the fastest, coolest and loudest car,’” said Farnsworth. “In the next 10 years, we are going to be saying, ‘I have the most connected car.’”


Anticipating the changes ahead, Farnsworth set out to create a learning path for the next generation of workers interested in being part of the automotive industry.


“We need technicians to understand the coolness around these vehicles and we need the repairers to understand this is a very interesting field that pays a lot of money,” she said. “It doesn’t take a four-year degree.”


Instead, she said technicians can learn the necessary skills through targeted education. Farnsworth has focused on certification, training and upskilling programs in intelligent transportation, connected and autonomous vehicles and new mobility systems for more than 20 years.


In 2018, she established The NEXT Education, offering certification and credentialing programs related to connected transportation systems, autonomous vehicles and cybersecurity. This year, Farnsworth partnered with Regina Hopper, who has a background in transportation, communications, energy public policy, media and law, and serves as the chief strategy officer.

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