IBEW Training, Workers Featured in EV Network Rollout

Federal guidance for the creation of a national network of electric-powered vehicle charging stations explicitly recommends that agencies consider the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program as they look to spend billions in funds allocated by President Biden's infrastructure bill, which passed last November.

The move is an important first step in following through on Biden's pledge that America's expanding EV charging network will be built by IBEW members.

"We're pleased that this guidance sets the foundation for the development of national EV charging standards but, more importantly, that it recognizes the need for quality training by specifically mentioning EVITP, which will help ensure the creation of good, union jobs," said IBEW President Lonnie R. Stephenson.

The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure guidance strongly encourages jurisdictions to consider workers' experience and training when applying for a share of the program's funding. "This includes ensuring the workforce is trained in high-quality training programs like the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP)," the guidance reads.

At the Feb. 10 press conference outside Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, D.C., several Biden Administration officials announced that nearly $5 billion will be made available to all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, over the next five years to help create the network along designated "alternative fuel corridors." Unions, specifically the IBEW, were mentioned several times during the conference.

"Once we get shovels in the ground to put these chargers up, it is going to mean jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs," said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. "The jobs that are good-paying union jobs all over the country, in every pocket of this country, and the training that goes with [them] is a huge opportunity for communities.

These new EV chargers will use American parts, iron and steel," said Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor to Biden for infrastructure coordination. "They'll be installed up and down highway corridors across the country by IBEW workers, and the benefits will ripple out thousands of miles away."

However, the mention of EVITP in the guidance didn't just happen in a vacuum, said Government Affairs Department Director Danielle Eckert.

"There are other proprietary training programs out there that are against EVITP at all levels," she said. Singling out EVITP, though, should help boost jurisdictions' interest in the program, she said, acknowledging the work of the IBEW members who are helping to ensure officials understand EVITP's quality.

Click here to read an in-depth Electrical Worker article on the IBEW’s EV training

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