Pritzker touts vocational training program to boost Illinois electric vehicle industry

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As part of his plan to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road, Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday announced a training program for the manufacture and repair of such cars to “attract people to some of the most jobs. better paid in our economy “.

The Electric Vehicle Energy Storage Training Program in downtown Bloomington is designed to attract jobs to Illinois and teach students the technical skills needed for electric cars.

To achieve this goal, Pritzker also hopes to offer incentives to attract manufacturers of electric vehicle charging stations and other related companies in the industry.

“Illinois is at the center of the action for investment and growth during this economic recovery, and nowhere is this more true than when it comes to the manufacture of electric vehicles,” said Pritzker.

“We are striving to double our investments in the manufacturing and suppliers of electric vehicles. With the legislative package we are proposing, Illinois will gain a foothold in this booming industry and create thousands of new jobs in our state.

Pritzker was joined by state lawmakers, college officials from Heartland Community College and electric vehicle maker Rivian for the announcement on the school’s Bloomington campus.

Governor JB Pritzker answers questions during a press conference at Heartland Community College on Thursday.
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The program is intended to align with the state’s goal of having one million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, which was included in energy legislation that was passed by the General Assembly. last month.

Heartland President Keith Cornille said the “first of its kind” program will provide “cutting edge training”. Over the next five years, the community college will train more than 360 people in energy storage techniques, Cornille said.

The first group of students in the energy storage program began their training during the fall semester. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to take apprenticeship programs or go directly to jobs in the electric vehicle industry.

Careers include advanced manufacturing, final assembly, and service careers focused on inspecting, troubleshooting and repairing electric vehicles or maintaining and supporting battery systems in residential, commercial applications. and utilities, according to Heartland’s website on the program.

After months of negotiations, Pritzker signed a bill last month to revise the state’s energy sector, calling the move “a giant leap” for Illinois.

Energy legislation provided incentives for those looking to purchase electric vehicles.

But the governor also spoke of an incentive plan for electric vehicle manufacturers as part of stimulating the state’s green energy sector.

State Representative Dave Vella, D-Rockford, said wording for the bill could be released as early as Friday.

“In the last energy bill we passed a pretty substantial electric vehicle tax credit for consumers, now what we’re doing is trying to bring electric vehicle manufacturers to the region,” Vella said. “This is a fairly broad economic package designed to attract a lot of business, jobs and investment to the state of Illinois.”

Vella has worked with the governor’s office for the past three to four months on legislation, which would grant tax credits to manufacturers of electric vehicle charging stations, batteries and small parts in a bid to attract more companies in the state and develop the electric automaker. sector. Details are still being worked out.

During Thursday’s press conference on the training program, President Emanuel “Chris” Welch expressed support for “Illinois to continue to be a leader in the country in green energy.”

“We fought hard, and we will continue to fight hard to continue to put Illinois first,” Welch said.

The speaker Emanuel

President Emanuel “Chris” Welch speaks at a press conference at Heartland Community College Thursday.
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A spokesperson for the speaker declined to comment on the additional legislation Vella is working on because Welch’s team have yet to see the official language of the proposed incentive program.

A spokesperson for Senate Speaker Don Harmon said in a statement that the upper legislative chamber was “open and interested in Governor Pritzker’s ideas” to develop the state’s green energy economy.

“The caucus is eager to see if it can meet during the abbreviated fall session,” the statement continued.


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