Battery job training comes to Michigan college

By Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity

Henry Ford College (HFC) will offer one of the first battery technician certification programs in the nation.

Earlier this month, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined Southeast Michigan Community Alliance Workforce Intelligence Network (SEMCA WIN) and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) to announce the new certification program at HFC.

The program was made possible by the Electric Vehicle Jobs Academy, which brought together partners at the college, the Michigan Workforce Training and Education Collaborative (MWTEC), and the Educational Programs in Collaboration (EPiC).

“The Electric Vehicle Jobs Academy is focused on connecting Michiganders with good-paying advanced manufacturing jobs building electric vehicles, batteries, and other automotive components,” Whitmer said. “The new battery job training program at Henry Ford College will offer Michiganders seeking an in-demand, high-skill career the training and education they need to succeed.”

The new battery technology curriculum will help approximately 3,000 Michiganders complete a short-term training certification from community colleges statewide through 2027. The training will help employers participating in the Electric Vehicle Jobs Academy prepare their current and future employees with the wide range of skills they need to succeed in electric vehicle and mobility-related occupations where they will earn an average wage of $30 an hour. The Electric Vehicle Jobs Academy is a partnership between SEMCA WIN and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

“The WIN Board of Directors and EV Jobs Academy partners have been working together to collect and analyze data identifying the training gaps around EV and mobility. The need for high-quality training curricula has been a focus of the EV Jobs Academy,” said Michele Economou Ureste, WIN Executive Director. “With over 130 partners in the EV Jobs Academy employer-led collaborative, this investment moves us one step closer to training and reskilling the Michigan workforce with electrified vehicle technology at the forefront.”

“Henry Ford College has a history of innovation in workforce development, and this new curriculum will prepare our graduates for the careers of the future in transportation and other fields,” HFC President Russ Kavalhuna said. “This is also a great example of partnerships between public and private organizations and the state working together to establish Michigan as a leader in electrical technology. The EV Jobs Academy and Industry Infinity are forward-looking initiatives, and we are proud to be among the first to invest in this world-class program for our students.”

In addition to the EV Jobs Academy grant awarded in 2022, SEMCA WIN was awarded a $10 million U.S. Department of Labor H-1B One Workforce grant for a project identified as “Building an Industry Infinity Supply Chain” (Industry Infinity). This project supports curriculum development and training for occupations in transportation, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing.

Due to the overlap of eligible occupations of both grants, Henry Ford College was able to acquire the battery technology curriculum through Industry Infinity funds to be delivered on the EPiC Consortium’s participating community colleges with an anticipated launch in Fall 2023.

Henry Ford College and EPiC procurement of the EIT InnoEnergy Battery Technician curriculum brings certification training statewide to all EPiC Consortium partners. This is the first EIT InnoEnergy partnership in the U.S.

The battery technology curriculum will enhance existing programs and current careers in automotive, maintenance, and repair technicians, electrical and electronics technicians, and mechatronics and serve to upskill incumbent workers with foundational knowledge and skill sets in battery technology.

“Thanks to Henry Ford College we are able to scale the battery technology curriculum through the EPiC platform, which includes 16 community colleges in the state of Michigan,” stated Amy Lee, president of MWTEC’s EPiC Consortium. “The Henry Ford College purchase allows other colleges access to the cutting-edge curriculum.”

This article originally appeared here.