By Paul Lienert
Sep 6 (Reuters) – The Siemens Foundation said on Wednesday it will make a $30-million, 10-year investment in workforce development in the United States focused on the fast-growing electric vehicle charging sector where tens of thousands of workers will be needed this decade.
“The number of jobs needed there is tremendous and it’s immediate,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the foundation, the non-profit arm of German technology giant Siemens’ U.S. operations.
Starting with fast-track programs in Michigan and North Carolina, the initiative aims to train a diverse and inclusive workforce to build, install and service the infrastructure to support future EV demand, from residential chargers to large commercial fleets.
The Siemens Foundation is partnering with the North Carolina Business Committee for Education and the Michigan-based Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP).
EVITP says it has trained and certified “thousands” of technicians in the United States and Canada to install and service EV supply equipment, mainly charging stations. A common complaint from EV owners is the general state of disrepair at many public charging stations.
EVITP stakeholders include automakers such as General Motors and BMW, equipment makers, utility companies and labor unions.
Siemens Foundation partners also include the National League of Cities and the National Governors Association.
Etzwiler said the initiative will emphasize training for individuals in underserved and underrepresented communities, providing a path to well-paying, long-lasting jobs in the EV charging sector.
Automakers support the foundation’s efforts to “ensure that we’ve got a network of chargers across the country” to support accelerating EV production, Etzwiler said.
“Making sure that we have a reliable (charging) network is part of ramping up EV manufacturing in this country,” he added. The critical piece of that is training “the technicians who are going to serve that market.”
(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Aurora Ellis)