Ultra-fast charging network funds Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) initiatives, workforce training with four grassroots organizations to support electric vehicle education in California, U.S.
Reston, VA (March 1, 2021) – Electrify America is investing over $1.6 million in funding to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and workforce development programs, projects, ideas, concepts and related sponsorships to help promote zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), ZEV technology and ZEV infrastructure. The investment will award four organizations funds to develop and launch educational and training programs to support K-12 and community college students as well as workers through vocational training in California and across the country.
This initiative builds on the company’s ongoing support for brand-neutral electric vehicle (EV) education and awareness across the U.S. These STEM and worker training programs will specifically address the need to educate students on EVs through new curriculum, as well as provide on-the-job vocational training that will be critical to developing a workforce of future engineers, software developers, battery technicians, energy management specialists, construction managers and a wide variety of additional jobs that the industry will have a strong need for as it continues to grow.
“Investing in science, technology, engineering and math programs will not only educate students and workers about electric vehicles, but it will help prepare them for the countless career opportunities that exist in the vast EV ecosystem,” said Will Berry, corporate social responsibility manager, Electrify America. “The electric vehicle and charging infrastructure industries need a workforce rooted in a strong STEM foundation, and we’re helping support future career development by teaching and training students about these types of jobs.”
Through an open and rigorous request for proposal process of more than a dozen applicants, Electrify America has awarded funding to four organizations who specialize in STEM and EV education:
• Ecology Action
• Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator
• The National Energy Foundation
• Valley Clean Air Now
These STEM programs will build on Electrify America’s previous multi-million dollar investments with numerous California-based community and diversity-focused organizations, as well as growing education and infrastructure investments in low income, disadvantaged communities, and rural areas. Investment in community-based organizations remains a strong component of the company’s broader commitment to educating all Americans on the benefits of driving electric.
“Challenging students to learn about the benefits of emissions-free technology with curriculum and vocational training will help drive the transition to an electric transportation future,” said Berry. “Electrify America’s investment in STEM complements our ongoing support for communities across California and the nation.”
A focus on equity remains a cornerstone in all decision-making processes at Electrify America, with emphasis on investing in programs that reach diverse, low-income and disadvantaged communities. In 2019 Electrify America invested a total of $82.4 million in these California communities by providing education, access, charging infrastructure and services to promote ZEV driving, including $10 million in education and marketing.
The four organizations that will be supporting STEM and workforce development activities through Electrify America’s investment will develop programs that target students nationally or in California. Additional information on the selected organizations and the campaigns that Electrify America will support, including quotes from each program leader, includes:
• Ecology Action: Ecology Action, a California-based environmental non-profit, is partnering with Fused Learning, LLC, a California leader in STEM education, to promote awareness of and deliver STEM education about the long-term adoption of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV), ZEV technology, and ZEV infrastructure. Their initiative will focus on reaching students in grades 4 – 8 through their ZEV Future for All program. https://ecoact.org/about-us/community-engagement/electricvehicles
“STEM learning focused on zero emission vehicles is an ideal combination for giving the next generation the knowledge and skills to build a more sustainable and resilient future,” said Kirsten Liske, Vice President of Community Programs, Ecology Action. “We are excited to partner with Electrify America to bring this subject to a diversity of children across northern California to spark their interest and imagination.”
• The National Energy Foundation (NEF): NEF will develop a national STEM program (excluding California) promoting EV adoption that focuses on grades K – 12, community college and vocational training through virtual or live presentations, student challenges, curriculum development, postsecondary webinars and expansion of its “rEV’ program around EV education. NEF is a unique 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to increasing energy literacy through the development, distribution and implementation of educational materials and programs related to energy, natural resources, energy efficiency, energy safety and the environment. https://nef1.org
“NEF’s ‘rEV’ program is an extraordinary opportunity to present today’s technology-driven students with the benefits of EVs through a STEM-based multimedia curriculum. The program provides the launch for all STEM-loving students to be introduced to ZEV (zero-emission vehicle) technologies and the possibilities of future careers,” said Elissa Richards, President, National Energy Foundation.
• Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI): LACI will focus on STEM education in California through workforce development, vocational training, and Zero-Emissions Mobility and Community Pilot Project programs, with specific emphasis on training and certifying workers for electric vehicle (EV) charging station repair and additional EV industry jobs. LACI’s approach to transportation electrification workforce development is unique because it offers participants hands-on access to LACI’s state-of-the-art Advanced Prototyping Center (APC) facilities with expertise in Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) and Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), and convenes their portfolio company employers to provide a seamless employment transition for graduates of their workforce development programs. https://laincubator.org
“Through our STEM curriculum and ZEV-focused technical training, LACI’s APC Fellowship Program not only prepares our graduates for ZEV-related workforce opportunities, but also shifts their perspectives around the importance of transportation electrification in our communities,” said Estelle Reyes Madrid, Senior Vice President, Enhancing Communities, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.
• Valley Clean Air Now (VCAN): VCAN will reach community college automotive students through curriculum and vocational training, partnering with the California New Car Dealers Association and Bakersfield College to help set up a future of new “green collar” careers in the EV industry, specifically for low-income and disadvantaged communities. VCAN is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to quantifiably reducing air emissions in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the region with the worst air quality in the United States. https://valleycan.org
“The adoption of electric vehicles presents the opportunity to train the next generation of vehicle technicians for well-paying careers,” said Rocky Carlisle, Valley Clean Air Now. “Trained and certified electric vehicle technicians are in short supply, so these graduates will be in high demand.”
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About Electrify America
Electrify America LLC, the largest open DC fast charging network in the U.S., is investing $2 billion over 10 years in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, education and access. The investment will enable millions of Americans to discover the benefits of electric driving and support the build-out of a nationwide network of workplace, community and highway chargers that are convenient and reliable. Electrify America expects to install or have under development approximately 800 total charging stations with about 3,500 DC fast chargers by December 2021. During this period, the company will be expanding to 29 metros and 45 states, including two cross-country routes, delivering on its commitment to support increased ZEV adoption with a network that is comprehensive, technologically advanced and customer friendly. Electrify America earned the “2020 EV Charging Infrastructure Best-in-Test” award from umlaut, an independent testing & validation company, as published in Charged Electric Vehicles Magazine noting the brand’s accessibility and seamless customer experience. Electrify America’s Electrify Home® offers home charging solutions for consumers with flexible installation options. Electrify Commercial® provides expert solutions for businesses looking to develop electric vehicle charging programs. For more information, visit www.electrifyamerica.com and media.electrifyamerica.com.
Mike Moran, Electrify America