INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — There’s a need for skilled workers in the growing electric vehicle (EV) supply chain field. A new national initiative will create a strong apprenticeship hub to fill those workforce needs.
The Electric Vehicles Hub will be led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in partnership with Tesla and Panasonic. AACC was awarded an $8 million Apprenticeship Building America (ABA) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to develop the hub.
AACC Executive Director of Apprenticeships Adrienne Summers outlined the initiative during a session at the association’s Workforce Development Institute this week.
“New technologies are stimulating demand for new jobs and new skills, and employment in the sector is growing throughout the country in the international energy agency projects,” Summers said. “The federal government, along with the nation’s community colleges, will help to address the anticipated growth in EV manufacturing and EV lithium-ion battery production.”
AACC will build upon its success in apprenticeship expansion to equip potential employees with cutting-edge training to create more equitable employment pathways while sustaining the growing talent needed in the industry.
“The demand for software developers, electric battery assemblers, battery engineers and chemical engineers will soar and open up thousands of opportunities for manufacturing workers to upskill,” said Summers. “The shift toward EV technology will also require a massive build-out of EV charging infrastructure, which will have a largely positive impact on the workforce.”
Expanding access to training is necessary to “meet the new manufacturing demands and the Biden administration’s 50% EV goal by 2030,” Summers added.
Panasonic Energy of North America (PENA) has a “model” partnership with Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC), according to Randy Fricot, training supervisor for PENA.
Fricot announced the opening of an advanced manufacturing center at TMCC in 2023 to support the growth of the lithium battery manufacturing industry. He said that “community colleges can have a significant impact on the growth of this emerging industry and we are excited to work together.”
Teresa Grant from Tesla told the audience that Tesla is investing heavily in workforce development and is proud to be a partner in the EV Hub.
“Apprenticeships are one way that Tesla is building its workforce in partnership with community colleges to ensure that students are learning the skills needed to be successful in a dynamic manufacturing environment that is dedicated to building and maintaining EVs now and in the future,” Grant said.