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Electric Vehicle Industry Charging Ahead:
NOVA Awarded New Grant

The electric vehicle (EV) industry is a significant emerging cluster, especially in the Bay Area, where adoption of clean vehicles has outpaced the country and stands at over 6 percent compared to 2.4 percent penetration nationwide, according to the Bay Area Climate Collaborative report, “Bridge to the Clean Economy.” Although it is difficult to predict the future growth of this industry as it is dependent on many variables, industry projections estimate that it is anywhere from a low of 5 percent penetration statewide to 13 percent nationwide by 2020. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District Clean Air Plan has established the goal of 100,000 EVs deployed by 2020 and efforts are already underway. Recently, four local city governments — San Jose, Campbell, Los Gatos and Mill Valley— added a total of 50 electric vehicles to replace older, less efficient cars in their existing fleets, which is further described in the June 28 edition of the San Jose Mercury News.

And with the growth of electric vehicles will come the production of other products such as charging station networks, as part of the larger industry cluster, which will bring many new jobs to the community. Statewide, it is predicted that EV adoption will create 100,000 new jobs according to the California Electric Transportation Coalition and many of these positions are expected to offer high wages. The Bay Area will need to prepare its workforce to meet the emerging EV industry cluster needs whether it is in research, design, manufacture, sales, service, infrastructure or other areas yet to be defined.

In June, NOVA was awarded a $250,000 planning grant from the California Workforce Investment Board, one of five awarded statewide, to create a strategic workforce development planning process for the EV industry cluster. This funding comes from AB 118, the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, and is part of a $1.5 million initiative by the California Workforce Investment Board and the California Energy Commission to develop regional strategies for supporting industry clusters that produce alternative fuels and electric vehicles, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the dependence on petroleum. The goal of NOVA’s new project is to ensure that the Silicon Valley workforce has the talent and skills that employers require to advance EV cluster growth and to identify what training and education programs will be needed to build this workforce expertise. NOVA will be taking the lead on this 18-month project to establish an EV Regional Network and will be collaborating with two neighboring workforce investment boards (WIBs), specifically, San Mateo County WIB and the San Jose-based work2future WIB, as well as other partners in the region such as the economic development offices of Santa Clara County and the cities of San Jose and Sunnyvale (and we hope many more cities as the project progresses!), the Bay Area Climate Collaborative, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, De Anza College, Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program – a national industry collaborative, Evergreen Valley College, IBEW local labor organization, Joint Venture Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley Clean Cities Coalition, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, SolarTech, West Valley College, among many other stakeholders in this industry cluster. 

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