Merkley, Wyden Announced Nearly $3 Million for Central Oregon Community College to Train and Expand the EV Workforce
COCC Chosen as One of Fifteen Sites Across the Country for EV Technician Program
Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that Central Oregon Community College (COCC) was 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 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.”
“This major federal investment in Central Oregon Community College will generate big gains for students eager to be trained in the good-paying jobs that are growing as part of the green energy economy,” said Wyden, who as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee worked to include new credits and incentives for EVs in the Inflation Reduction Act. “I’m gratified that COCC has earned these resources to build out EV technician training for Central Oregon. And I’ll keep battling to ensure every part of Oregon secures similar job training gains from our country’s clean energy future.”
“Central Oregon Community College is grateful to receive this transformative award from the National Science Foundation and proud that it recognizes the leadership and expertise of our automotive faculty,” said COCC president Dr. Laurie Chesley. “Senators Wyden and Merkley have always supported our college’s efforts to invest in a future-oriented workforce, and this award will expand upon this support by growing the impact of the NEVTEX Next consortium’s skilled EV technician training. The consortium, of which COCC’s faculty are essential founding members, will help fifteen geographically and demographically diverse two-year colleges to broaden the EV workforce and meet the growing national need.”
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:
- 15 new 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.
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