“Ride and Drive Electric Grant” will help to launch “Plug In Philly” program

PHILADELPHIA — The City of Philadelphia has been awarded $1.47 million in federal funds from the U.S. Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office), supported by the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), through the Ride and Drive Electric grant program to fund the Plug In Philly initiative. The pilot is a workforce development program developed to recruit and train 45 diverse Philadelphians for careers in electric vehicle supplies and equipment (EVSE). The award comes from the $46.5 million made available by the Joint Office – established under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) – for projects that bolster America’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.

“Through a powerful partnership between the Federal government, organized labor, education and the City of Philadelphia, this initiative harnesses the potential for underserved Philadelphians to obtain pathways to jobs, careers and self-sufficiency,” said Mayor L. Cherelle Parker. “The ‘Plug In Philly’ program will expand economic opportunity for all by removing barriers to employment for Philadelphia residents. The pre-apprenticeship model will provide participants with training in an Electric Vehicle field that is booming, and provide increased pathways to local unions responsible for building and maintaining Philadelphia’s infrastructure. We also thank the Biden-Harris administration – without their leadership on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — this grant would never have happened.” 

Plug In Philly, a City of Philadelphia-led initiative, will empower aspiring EVSE workers. This pre-apprenticeship program will expand access to career-track training and employment in EVSE installation and maintenance work. Ultimately, Plug In Philly will increase and diversify the workforce needed to make a regional EV charging station network possible.

“As electric vehicle production booms thanks in no small part to the infrastructure law, this federal funding will help the ‘Plug In Philly’ program to bolster the EV workforce and train workers for good-paying union jobs,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). “Pennsylvania was among the first states in the Nation to begin building out a statewide network of charging stations with infrastructure law funds and now this grant will ensure Southeastern Pennsylvanians of all backgrounds can train for jobs to build this network out, strengthening our burgeoning electric vehicle industry and reducing our carbon footprint.” 

The Plug In Philly program will:

  1. Build an EVSE focused pre-apprentice program,
  2. Increase awareness of high-paying professional opportunities in EVSE through outreach to job seekers, especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and women Philadelphians currently in low-wage jobs, and
  3. Develop demand-side programming to support graduates’ job placement in EVSE careers.

The City will lead the initiative in partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98 and its training arm, Apprentice Training for the Electrical Industry (ATEI). Additional partners include Philadelphia Works Inc. (PhilaWorks), Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), School District of Philadelphia (SDP), National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Philadelphia chapter which will help recruit participants, develop curriculum, and provide training.

“IBEW Local 98 and our Apprentice Training program are deeply honored to be partnering with the Parker administration, Philadelphia Community College and other city stakeholders on this innovative new workforce development program,” said Mark Lynch, Jr., Business Manager, IBEW Local 98.  “This is a game-changer that perfectly dovetails with our commitment to providing women and minorities with greater access to our union through innovative pre-apprenticeship programs and community outreach.”

During the two-year pilot, a total of 45 participants over three cohorts will successfully complete the pre-apprenticeship program, and City officials are committed to helping these participants access pathways to permanent, fulltime jobs in the EV industry. Long-term aims include an increase in BIPOC, and women electricians employed by 2030 on Philadelphia public works projects. 

“This grant announcement demonstrates the City’s successful intergovernmental approach to bring $1.47M in federal infrastructure funding to the people of Philadelphia,” said Mike Carroll, Deputy Managing Director for the City’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (OTIS). “The focus on electric vehicle workforce training builds clean transportation for Philadelphia resulting not only in a city that is safer, cleaner and greener, but one which creates economic opportunity for all.”

To confront the climate crisis, the United States is accelerating the adoption of EVs. A convenient, reliable, and accessible EV charging network is essential to promoting EV ownership. The Biden Administration has committed to building a national network of 500,000 EV charging stations by 2030. American electrical workers are needed to meet this critical goal.

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