The Rise of Heavy-Duty Electric Trucks Is Driving a Training Rush

An apprenticeship program at Velocity Vehicle Group in the Los Angeles metro area is training workers to service heavy-duty electric vehicles. The training is partnered with similar educational opportunities at Rio Hondo College.

Students from Rio Hondo College in southern California tour the Velocity Vehicle service facility. Velocity Vehicle offers an apprenticeship program for jobs servicing heavy-duty electric vehicles.
Submitted Photo: GNA Clean Transportation and Energy Consultants

Jason Shearer recently looked out the window of the Velocity Vehicle service center in Southern California to an unusual sight; it wasn’t that there were trucks from Walmart, Sysco and other companies waiting for service, it was more the type of trucks that stood out.

As heavy-duty battery-electric trucks gain traction, the need for qualified technicians is growing in lockstep, putting new pressure on training programs and companies.

“I would say, in the last six months, the demand on the battery-electric side has just been crazy, the amount of growth that we’ve seen,” said Shearer, vice president for service at the Velocity Vehicle Group.

“Even as much as we prepare, we’re seeing a huge amount of intake of these [electric] units, and we have been very much on the forefront of training and getting people ready, and getting them experienced in this stuff,” Shearer said.

Velocity has been partnering with Rio Hondo College, a community college in the area, and has developed an apprenticeship program to train workers for servicing electric heavy-duty vehicles. The program, which takes about two years, prepares workers for what may be perhaps the latest addition of new jobs resulting from the emerging green transportation movement.

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Funding Partners

JETSI is jointly financed by California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission ($26.98 million), MSRC ($8 million), and South Coast AQMD ($5.4 million), with an additional $21.7 million from Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, Southern California Edison, NFI, and Schneider. JETSI is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.