Under President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, 50 percent of all cars sold will be electric by 2030. Earlier this month, Detroit’s Big Three automakers announced plans to have half of their vehicles be electric-powered by 2030. Volkswagen plans to have 70 percent of its sedan and SUV sales to be electric by 2030.
The electric car is quickly becoming a reality, transforming the vehicle landscape. And that has the potential to create plenty of jobs for union electricians — not just in the construction and maintenance of these vehicles, but also in the infrastructure needed to power them. Biden has called for the creation of 500,000 charging stations. For comparison’s sake, there are currently 115,000 gas stations and 41,000 charging stations.
Justin Walsh, Training Director for IBEW 567, joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss what the move toward electric vehicles will mean for union jobs and how his union is preparing to meet the demand.
Demand for electricians will explode in coming decades
There is a huge market for electric vehicles that is only going to continue to grow, Walsh said. Every year, more and more people are plugging in their vehicles. As we approach 2030, this number is expected to skyrocket. The bulk of GM’s fleet will be electric in the next 10 years, he said.
The market is not just for personal vehicles but company fleet vehicles, and that will mean an incredible roll out of infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations, Walsh said.
Every year, that will mean more and more business for electricians in the coming decades, Walsh stated.
Unions prepare to meet the demand
The growing need for electricians has created a demand for jobs — and the unions are stepping up to fill that demand, Walsh stated. They are doing this through expanding their apprenticeship programs, he said.
The demographic of those entering apprenticeships is changing, Walsh reported. Currently about 50 percent are students who have some college education or even a degree, but are looking to get into the trades, he said. They are facing college debt and cannot afford to go back to school. The beauty of apprenticeships is they can learn for free and get paid while they learn the trade, he said.
Currently, the Local 567 JATC in Maine receives about 150 applicants for 35 available spots, Walsh reported. Most of the interest is all word of mouth, he said.