$ 3M COVID Grant Could Lead to Smart Car Tech Jobs Paying $ 140,000


Dallas vehicle finance nonprofit On The Road Lending will receive $ 3 million from the US Department of Commerce to renovate a building in West Dallas where it will train people to be smart car technicians.

The grant is part of $ 4.8 million in pandemic recovery assistance for worker training programs in Texas. On The Road Lending worked with the North Central Texas Council of Governments on their request.

Apprentices selected for the one-year program will receive benefits and earn $ 15 per hour. On their first job, they are expected to earn around $ 70,000 and have the opportunity to double that number with more experience, said Michelle Corson, founder and CEO of On The Road Lending.

“It’s not just a living wage,” she said. “It’s a life changing salary.”

The grant will create around 275 jobs, of which around half will be spent on renovating the facility and the other half will belong to selected apprentices.

The facility will train people to calibrate smart cars. Advanced driver assistance systems used in smart cars feature sensors and cameras that work with a car’s computer system to help drivers with tasks such as parking, emergency braking, or switching. of track. If the sensors or cameras are not calibrated correctly, the system may not work and cause an accident.

Smart cars need to be calibrated, or realigned, after a crash, as well as after more common events such as windshield or bumper replacement.

This will be the non-profit organization’s second installation. Last July, it opened its first facility in Irving, On The Road Garage, a for-profit company with 20 employees who perform collision repairs.

On the Road Lending was founded in 2013 to help people get better jobs by removing the barrier of not being able to afford a reliable car. He helps people improve their credit and buy quality cars, by financing them through his private equity loan twin fund with a low cost loan. The 14-employee nonprofit has made more than 800 loans.

Soaring used car prices during the pandemic – due to trends such as closing factories to protect workers from COVID-19 and a shortage of chips – has had a big impact on the organization at goal. non-profit. Used car prices increased by 25% last year. Corson said she hopes part of the grant can be used to help offset some of that cost to people.

The nonprofit says it grants loans based on people’s character rather than their credit score. The average credit score increase for those who work with On The Road Lending is 157, according to the organization. last annual report as of 2019. The average age of the association’s clients is 41 with an average salary of $ 32,061. Almost 80% of clients are women and about 90% are people of color.

In early 2020, On The Road Lending received a loan of up to $ 10 million from Goldman Sachs’ urban investment group to expand its program to underserved communities outside of Texas. It was already in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. The loan will be used to expand to Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee starting in July, Corson said.

In the Dallas Regional Chamber poll, “fully open” could mean the office is open, but the company is also giving employees the flexibility to do a work-from-home or office hybrid.

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