Central Oregon Community College has been awarded nearly $3 million to help expand the electric vehicle (EV) technician workforce.
The funding comes from the National Science Foundation and will support COCC's Northwest Engineering and Vehicle Technology Exchange (NEVTEX).
"The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. So it is imperative that we transition away from gasoline-powered vehicles, which are fanning the flames of the crisis," said Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley. "Ensuring we have trained technicians is a critical part of the infrastructure we need to support the growing number of drivers choosing to go electric. This funding will put COCC in the driver's seat for expanding and supporting this vital and growing sector."
Educating Students for the EV Workforce
COCC is one of 15 two-year colleges who will develop EV technician programs under the NEVTEX Next consortium. The consortium will create and test a model for addressing the need to educate the EV skilled technician workforce through four objectives:
- The two-year college EV technician programs will be started and certified by providing professional development for instructors and supplying necessary testing equipment.
- An advisory group will promote and sustain a national, industry-recognized EV certification for educators and technicians to advance standards-based EV certifications at two-year colleges and in the EV workforce.
- Five college automotive instructors will gain the EV technology knowledge and skills required to be certified in the national EVPro+ training and testing standards, and equipment will be provided at their colleges to establish five authorized EVPro+ certification testing sites.
- Consortium-wide training based on proven and successful strategies will enable automotive faculty to develop effective student recruitment and retention strategies to increase diversity in their programs by attracting and retaining women and underserved minorities.