Autonomous Vehicle Certification Prepares Michigan Workforce for Careers of the Future

As the automotive industry continues to evolve and transition into a new era of mobility, knowledge of intelligent transportation and automation will prove to be invaluable.
One Michigan institution is working to ensure our workforce has the essential skills they need to succeed.

Dedicated to training for new mobility systems, The Next Education offers credentials, certifications, and continuing education courses specializing in intelligent transportation, autonomous technologies, and new mobility systems. Pulling together an expert team of strategic partners—including the American Center for Mobility, Center for Automotive Research, Connected Vehicle Trade Association, Global Auto Industry, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association—The Next Education curriculum revolves around shared expertise, research, and skills to ensure the most up-to-date coursework.

“We were born out of the skills gap that evolved when traditional automotive began moving into mobility and with the onset of Internet of Things (IOT),” said Elaina Farnsworth, CEO, The Next Education. “We want to create a skilled and prepared workforce, armed with certifications and technical training—with stackable credentials—that allow them to progress in their careers.”

The Next Education’s approach to training includes both online instruction and hands-on experience. Through their own MicrotraX platform, students have access to video and online live learning sessions, both self-paced and instructor led, before transitioning to working on real world projects and problems with experts in the field. Programs include:

  • Autonomous and Connected Vehicles (CAV), including a Connected Vehicle Professional (CVP) certification
  • Innovative Transport Solutions (ITS) & New Mobility Communications
  • ITS & New Mobility Policy
  • Emergency Preparedness: Transportation & COVID
  • Autonomous Vehicles Fundamentals
  • Intelligent Transportation Fundamentals
  • Smart Cities/Communities Intermodal

“The importance of this kind of training is to not only increase knowledge but to be agents of change for the future,” said Scott McCormick, President, Connected Vehicle Trade Association who helps build curriculum for the CAV programs.

In addition to offering online courses through their own platform, The Next Education works with employers to upskill their current workforce and provides ancillary learning opportunities with colleges and universities.

“We work with educational institutions to build upon their current degree programs and coursework to ensure they have the most up-to-date curriculum,” said Farnsworth. “Thanks to our partnerships and position in the industry, we can ensure their students are entering into the workforce with the skills that are needed immediately.”

In November, Oakland Community College (OCC), renowned for its continuing education courses for learners at all stages, is offering Next Education’s Connected Vehicle Professional Credentialing Program.

This three-day, online course will provide a thorough perspective on this rapidly growing industry segment and the skills employers need. Led by an internationally recognized leader and “Trusted Advisor” to the United States Government, the course tackles the on-going evolution of the industry, connecting participants to valuable CAV organizations and various industry resources.

Building upon the county’s Connected Vehicle Task Force and ongoing commitment to connected vehicles and connected infrastructure, OCC is well-positioned to be a key player in the workforce development for this industry segment. At the completion of the course and testing, OCC students will receive their Connected Vehicle Professional (CVP) certification. More information can be found at

Intelligent transportation and new mobility systems are built on critical knowledge and deep problem-solving skills combined with a passion for creating safer, accessible, equitable, sustainable and connected transportation. Since inception in 2017, The Next Education has worked with industry leaders, planners, engineers, technicians, and stakeholders to ensure our industry’s pipeline is healthy, knowledgeable, and ready for the future.

For more information on The Next Education and current programs, visit