From: Ron Flowers
Greater Washington Clean Cities Coalition
Electric Vehicle Deployment Spurs Green Jobs for Vets in D.C. Area
Clean Cities stakeholders in and around the nation’s capital are connecting U.S. military veterans with green job opportunities as the region prepares for the arrival of electric vehicles.
Through an innovative pilot project called Vetcars, 10 veterans recently completed a new training program for installation of electric vehicle charging stations. Following their graduation, participating vets went to work on a Recovery Act project awarded to the Baltimore Electric Vehicle Initiative (BEVI) by the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) to install 55 charging stations along the Interstate 95 corridor from Perryville, Maryland, to Washington, D.C.
“The students loved it,” said Terry Wolfe, associate professor at Baltimore County Community College (BCCC). “They thought it really helped them get their feet on the ground. And hopefully, they’ll parlay their new skills and experience into future career opportunities.”
The Vetcars pilot grew out of the collaborative efforts of a number of agencies and organizations, several of which are Greater Washington Clean Cities Coalition (GWCCC) stakeholders. Eaton, a major manufacturer of electric vehicle charging equipment, provided the college with a charging station and instructor training. BCCC hosted the training and provided instruction. Autoflex, the company subcontracted to install the 55 charging stations, worked with Eaton and BCC to develop the curriculum. Autoflex also hired program graduates to perform the station installations. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) referred veterans to the training program and paid for their tools and work boots.
The success of the Vetcar pilot has set the stage for similar training programs beyond Baltimore. Discussions are now under way to replicate the program at University of the District of Columbia Community College. And Autoflex is training trainers to reach out to 50 other colleges across the country.
“This is just the beginning,” Autoflex President Luis MacDonald said. “As more electric vehicles hit the road, there’s a growing need to train technicians to service electric vehicles and to install and maintain charging stations. If we can help our veterans seize this opportunity, it’s a win for everyone involved.”