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Several NECA Members and Constituents Awarded Grant Funding for Electric Vehicle Charging

Feb 9, 2024

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) includes a historic $7.5 billion dedicated investment to build out a national network of EV chargers. At the end of January, a Joint Office between the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Transportation announced the first round of grant recipients for this goal of building a national network of EV chargers for all Americans. Five NECA chapters/members/JATC affiliates were awarded grant funding for this initiative.

The collective group of Quanta Energized Services (QES), Texas State University, Mississippi State University, ABB, Navistar, Electrical Training Alliance (NECAIBEW), Veteran's Electrical Entry Program (VEEP) and USIgnite was awarded more than $2 million for the Charger Assessment and Testing at Lazy Q (CHAT@Lazy Q) project. This effort aims to upgrade the independent testing and training facility at the Lazy Q ranch in La Grange, TX, to a state-of-the art EV charger testing facility capable of full power testing at the megawatt scale. The upgrade will provide an environment to test and study the challenges of electrification technologies on the utility infrastructure while operating independently of the local power utility and its interconnection timelines.

The Alabama Power Company, with partners Mercedes Benz, US, IBEW Union #135, Iron Workers #92, The City of Birmingham, The Campus of Hope Housing Authority, Lawson State Community College (HBCU), the Alabama Department of Transportation, and the Alabama Office of Workforce Development was granted $1.5 million for the Training 2 Work EV Work Based Learning project. This will support the nationally recognized ACER – A Chance for Everyone Returning Program, which is an evidence-informed occupational training and employment program. The goal is to expand access to career track training and employment in EVSE installation and maintenance work for a diversified pipeline of individuals.

Portland General Electric in collaboration with the Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity, Oregon Department of Transportation, NECA/IBEW Local 48 Electrical Training Center, and  Worksystems was awarded more than $1.2 million for their Preparing Diverse Women for Oregon’s Transportation Electrification Workforce initiative. This project will undertake robust community outreach efforts to ensure a diverse participation of 200 low-income women in a pre-apprenticeship program at no cost. The pre-apprenticeship program will prepare jobseekers for a career in skilled construction trades necessary for EVSE and offer a path forward to electrical apprenticeship. The project will also work towards certifying existing electricians, two hundred, with EVITP. Upon completion, Oregon will have a more diverse and qualified workforce to install and maintain EV charging stations.

The collective group of IBEW Local 98/ATEI, Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Works, Inc., Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Transportation, and the Electrification Coalition were granted nearly $1.5 million for the Plug in Philly project. Plug in Philly will empower aspiring EV supply and equipment workers by building an initiative between Philadelphia and the IBEW to run an EVSE focused pre-apprentice program. It will also increase awareness of high-paying professional opportunities in EVSE through outreach to disadvantaged communities. Lastly, it’s expected to develop demand-side programming to support graduates' job placement.

Finally, the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) and SkillFusion partnership was granted nearly $1.5 million for their Joint Office of Energy and Transportation Ride and Drive Electric project. It will develop a new Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Service Provider pre-apprenticeship program designed to address EVSE maintenance issues that will complement existing EVITP training. Program graduates will exit with a nationally and industry recognized credential. Graduates will be prepared to conduct assessments of EVSEs and address any non-electrical and programming issue. The pre-apprenticeship program will be piloted in four counties in Michigan and California. Once deployed, the project will increase the number of trained individuals in common EVSE issues who will help ensure a more reliable charging experience.

All five of these first-round awardee collectives stood out with their projects supporting EV charging reliability, resiliency, equity, and workforce development. The Joint Office is determined that the transition to electrified transportation is inclusive and equitable in providing benefits to all Americans, while creating high quality jobs.