News/Events

Preparing the Global EV Talent Pipeline

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Energy + Mobility

The Institute’s Energy team presented a new report with key recommendations and resources for programs aiming to develop new talent for the EV (electric vehicle) transition and retrain automotive workers.

As the world increasingly turns to electric mobility (e-mobility) for transportation — educational and training organizations have a crucial role to play in preparing the talent pipeline. This challenge has been the recent focus of the William Davidson Institute’s Energy team in its partnership with the State of Chihuahua in Mexico, a region with an economy heavily linked to the automotive industry. On Thursday, the WDI Energy team presented a new report in Ciudad Juárez for partners and stakeholders interested in developing their own EV training programs.

Chihuahua’s government through the Secretariat of Innovation and Economic Development (SIDE) and the Institute of Innovation and Competitiveness (I2C) engaged WDI to identify areas of opportunity to support the automotive industry’s transition to electrification. Last year, following several months of research, WDI delivered a strategic “Roadmap to E-Mobility for the State of Chihuahua” that highlights key opportunities across the EV value chain and strategies for Chihuahua to stay competitive amidst this shift.

As the new report notes, transitioning to producing and using EVs of all kinds requires a fundamental shift and brings many implications for businesses, government, academia and other stakeholders. This is true across geographies, for countries with well established automotive manufacturing capacity, those with critical minerals needed for battery manufacturing — and also for those seeking to engage in the global EV value chain for the first time, or develop innovative e-mobility products and solutions for their local context.

After conducting research and work in both Michigan and in select low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) the team identified a set of 20 training programs related to EV technology and engineering offered by universities, community colleges, mobility hubs and other entities in diverse markets.

Preparing the talent pipeline to design, produce, assemble, test, charge and maintain EVs, regardless of the vehicle segment, is indeed a key enabler of the transition. This will require efforts to upskill or reskill the traditional automotive workforce focused on the internal combustion engine, as well as efforts to equip future graduates with the skills needed for the shift to EVs.

“Preparing the talent pipeline to design, produce, assemble, test, charge and maintain EVs, regardless of the vehicle segment, is indeed a key enabler of the transition,” said Diana E. Páez, WDI Senior Director, Energy & Mobility. “This will require efforts to upskill or reskill the traditional automotive workforce focused on the internal combustion engine, as well as efforts to equip future graduates with the skills needed for the shift to EVs.”

To do so, existing programs must be updated to align better with rapidly evolving industry needs, and new programs need to be designed and delivered in thoughtful ways, the report notes. Universities, community colleges, government entities and mobility innovation centers all have roles to play in equipping current and future workers with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in an EV value chain.

As universities and other educational institutions begin to consider updating their existing curricula or developing new programs to train the future professionals and technicians that will enable the transition to EVs, they need not start from scratch.

The report brings to light the EV training programs in Michigan and in select LMICs, Páez noted. “One of our goals is to provide higher education institutions and other stakeholders with an overview of emergent training efforts from around the world,” she said.

To achieve these goals, WDI and Chihuahua officials have committed to creating an EV value chain asset map, engaging in quarterly webinars for Chihuahua stakeholders and developing case studies highlighting local e-mobility innovations. These activities will culminate in a high-level conference in Chihuahua to present e-mobility opportunities with key members of the auto industry, state government, academia and more.

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About WDI

At the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, unlocking the power of business to provide lasting economic and social prosperity in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is in our DNA. We gather the data, develop new models, test concepts and collaborate with partners to find real solutions that lead to new opportunities. This is what we mean by Solving for Business—our calling since the Institute was first founded as an independent nonprofit educational organization in 1992. We believe societies that empower individuals with the tools and skills to excel in business, in turn generate both economic growth and social freedom—or the agency necessary for people to thrive.

About SIDE

SIDE fosters and facilitates the economic development of Chihuahua, in coordination with economic actors, increasing the competitiveness of businesses through innovation, to generate wealth and employment, and enhance the quality of life for the people of Chihuahua.

About I2C

I2C is a government agency of the State of Chihuahua that seeks to strengthen and promote scientific, technological and innovation capacities, through strategic research, technological development, and innovation (R&D&i) projects and programs that provide solutions and improve productivity and competitiveness of the productive, social, public, and academic sectors of the State of Chihuahua.

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