Tesla, Community College Association, Team Up to Train Electric Vehicle Workforce

The American Association of Community Colleges will lead the new Electric Vehicles Hub amid a growing demand for electric vehicles.
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  • The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) plans to launch a new Electric Vehicles Hub for apprenticeships.
  • Tesla and Panasonic are collaborating with the AACC on the hub.
  • The apprenticeship hub is funded via an $8 million Department of Labor grant.

Community colleges are set to play a key role in educating electric vehicle (EV) workers, with the American Association of Community Colleges announcing a nationwide apprenticeship hub in partnership with major tech companies.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) will lead the new Electric Vehicles Hub alongside Tesla and Panasonic, according to a release. The partnership was announced at the AACC's Workforce Development Institute last week.

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, Adrienne Summers, the AACC's executive director of apprenticeships, said in a release. 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.

The hub will be funded by an $8 million Department of Labor Apprenticeship Building America grant, according to the release. Summers said the hub will make training more accessible to students and will be key to meeting the Biden administration's goals around electric vehicles.

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, Teresa Grant, the workforce development and education lead at Tesla, said at the event.

Government officials and business leaders alike have looked to community colleges to meet increasing workforce needs in the electric vehicle industry in recent years.

Last September, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) awarded a tax incentive package to T/CCI Manufacturing in Decatur — as well as appropriating millions in grants to a Richland Community College research and innovation facility in cooperation with T/CCI, according to a release.

This state-of-the-art facility will provide world-class training in electrification, a registered apprenticeship program, along with immersive industry partnerships and testing available to the electric vehicle industry, Richland Community College President Cris Valdez said at the time. At the same time, it will build the bridge from employer and unemployed to keep pace in a rapidly changing economy, and address the need to build a skilled workforce.

Major tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and others have increasingly looked to community colleges to close the skills gap by training workers in recent years.

BestColleges previously reported that the Biden administration has focused on apprenticeships as drivers of workforce development, including developing an Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative last year that included more than 200 organizations committed to developing hundreds of registered apprenticeship programs.