Tens of thousands of new charging stations, like this one in Valdosta, Ga., will be needed to meet consumers’ growing demand for electric vehicles. To help ensure that IBEW electricians capture the work of installing and maintaining these stations, International President Lonnie R. Stephenson is challenging members across the U.S. to sign up at least 10,000 electricians by August to get credentialed in the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Michael Rivera.

Nearly $5 billion in new electrical vehicle charging systems are on the way, and demand for qualified installers has never been higher. That’s why International President Lonnie R. Stephenson is launching the Talent Pipeline Challenge, with a goal of getting at least 10,000 electricians across the U.S. signed up by August to be credentialed in the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program.

“The EVITP has become such a gold standard in our industry that the Biden administration recently made it their preferred program for training the men and women who will be installing and maintaining thousands of EV charging systems across the United States over the next several years.”

The EVITP is a non-profit 20-hour course for journey-level wiremen that’s available at many Joint Apprentice Training Centers and Electrical Training Alliance training centers as well as online.

Business managers across the U.S. have been provided links for members to register to receive EVITP credentials. To qualify for the challenge, members must complete both the 18-hour course and its two-hour certification test by August.

What’s driving this challenge is the nearly $5 billion that’s been made available under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help build a national network of 500,000 charging stations located conveniently along so-called “Alternative Fuel Corridors” by 2030. Even better for the IBEW, the administration in recent months has indicated a strong preference for EVITP, with the program set to become the only named training standard in new federal rules regarding EV charging station construction.

“Thousands of IBEW brothers and sisters have been certified in the EVITP since it was launched more than a decade ago,” Stephenson said. “While we can handle the residential and commercial charging installations we have now and for the short term, we’ve got to be prepared to capture all of the new work that’s coming.”

According to estimates, nearly one out of every five vehicles on U.S. roads by 2030 — about 30 million — is expected to be electric. The recent global shortage in oil refineries, which has caused gasoline prices to skyrocket worldwide, is only helping to drive interest in vehicles that don’t need gasoline or diesel for power.

“Getting in early practically guarantees that most of the coming installation and maintenance work will go to the IBEW. By helping the IBEW meet this challenge, you’re laying a foundation that will allow us to dominate this new sector,” Stephenson said.

Members who are interested in signing up for the challenge can enroll in EVITP certification through their local JATC or ETA facility. The training program — covering equipment specs, vehicle types, solar and storage integration and more — can be taken in person, online or some combination of the two.

Stephenson is calling particularly on business managers in the U.S. to make it a top priority to enroll members in EVITP training. “These next weeks will be make-or-break to honor our commitment to have IBEW professionals ready, willing and able to meet the demands of the EV vehicle charging network buildout,” he said.

The IBEW’s Government Affairs Department is providing international vice presidents in the U.S. with target numbers for each district based on existing EVITP density, location, and market need. The International Office will send IVPs weekly reports detailing local union enrollment and completion rates to help ensure that all districts can reach their targets.