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January 2023

The Front Line: Politics & Jobs
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Biden: IBEW Exceeded Challenge to
Register Credentialed EV Charger Installers

Over the summer, President Joe Biden issued a "talent pipeline challenge" to ensure that jobs geared toward rebuilding the country's infrastructure will be filled by the highly trained men and women of the building trades.

International President Lonnie R. Stephenson pledged that the IBEW would certify at least 10,000 electricians by August through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program.

In November, the White House announced that the IBEW had exceeded that pledge, with more than 12,500 members boasting certification in the EVITP, a 20-hour course for journeymen wiremen that's offered at many of the IBEW's training facilities.

"I'm pleased that our members stepped up like this, but I'm honestly not surprised," Stephenson said. "Our high-quality training is what sets us apart, and our members recognize that training is what helps us prepare to capture work that leads to good-paying, union jobs for thousands of men and women."

Part of the push behind the White House's challenge is the nearly $5 billion under Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help build a national network of 500,000 charging stations located along "alternative fuel corridors" by 2030.

The administration has consistently indicated a strong preference for the EVITP, so much so that it was the only training standard listed by name in new federal rules issued this year regarding construction of EV charging stations.

At a special White House meeting Nov. 2 to talk about the challenge, President Stephenson was among the labor leaders who were invited to attend, and he was the only one mentioned by Biden in his remarks.

"When I started to run for the presidency this time, the suggestion was, 'Biden is too green; he'd never get unions to stick with him,'" the president said. "One of the first guys I called was Lonnie."

During his campaign, Biden said, his lengthy conversations with Stephenson helped the two men reach an understanding of how "the future of labor is in the future" and that focusing on a range of issues from climate change to advanced manufacturing would be crucial to the country's economic recovery.

"I just want to thank you, Lonnie, and all the union presidents that are here, for stepping up," Biden said. "It wasn't easy to step up as boldly as you did. I really mean it."

Biden was introduced by Alyssa Cruz, a fourth-year, second-generation apprentice from Chicago Local 134.

"As the youngest of three and the only girl, I was not expected to follow in my father's footsteps," Cruz said. "I got to college on a scholarship and worked for a few years before I realized that I wanted what my dad had at the IBEW: income that put me and my brothers through college, a union pension, health care and the satisfaction that comes from seeing an empty lot and then working to build something from the ground up."

In September, the Department of Transportation announced that it had approved a deployment plan for the vehicle charging network, with all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico gaining access to funding to build out the network.


Boston Local 103 apprentice Abigail Jean-Baptiste demonstrates electric vehicle charging station training for President Joe Biden at the White House.