National Science Foundation’s $2.7 million award to fund electric vehicle consortium at IRSC
BY SUZANNE SELDES
Indian River State College has received a three-year, $2,735,771 award from the National Science Foundation to establish a National Electric Vehicle Consortium to help alleviate an immediate shortage of skilled technical workers across almost every sector of the fast-growing electric vehicle industry.
The consortium will focus on manufacturing, installation, operations, maintenance, repair, vehicle conversion, safety and standards, and emerging technological advances within the EV sector.
IRSC will lead efforts that link academic, agency and industry experts across all EV disciplines, including 15 community colleges, 19 industry partners, two research universities, and NSF Advanced Technical Education Centers and projects.
“It is estimated that the 1 billion light-duty vehicles on the roads today consume one-fourth of global primary oil and contribute 10 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions,” says Kevin Cooper, IRSC executive director of innovation and business development. “A multidisciplinary National Electric Vehicle Consortium is critical to securing immediate and future needs in the nation’s EV workforce and helping address national resiliency and environmental goals.”
Workforce projections estimate that an all-EV industry will add 250,000 to 500,000 new high-paying jobs by 2030.
The consortium offers a venue for collaboration among training providers to support broad-scale outreach and community-building among educational institutions; industry, professional, trade, and regulatory associations; educators; and practicing technicians within the EV ecosystem.
It will document workforce needs, skills and competencies; collect data on academic programs and curricular resources; align academic programs and courses with the industry sector needs; and support institutions of higher education in adapting and establishing new EV programs.
“This synergistic EV consortium is designed with national solutions in mind,” Cooper continues. “It creates the first critical mass of experts focused on addressing the need for EV technicians in the U.S.”
The grant was awarded to IRSC by the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education Advanced Technological Education, which focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation’s economy.
The NEVC at IRSC is scheduled to launch July 1.
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