Michigan Central skills-training initiative kicks off by helping Detroiters become EV charger techs through ChargerHelp!
September 27, 2023
DETROIT – Michigan Central announced today a key partnership with ChargerHelp!, offering free skills-training to Detroit residents to get them ready for in-demand, good-paying jobs in the increasingly important field of electric vehicle (EV) charger maintenance. Detroiters can start signing up now for the first cohort, officially kicking off Michigan Central’s commitment to making sure Detroiters have the skills they need to land jobs in mobility and tech.
ChargerHelp! is a Black- and women-owned company dedicated to improving the reliability of the EV-charging infrastructure and workforce enablement. Its mission to remove barriers for all in the tech, electrification and mobility fields is one shared by Michigan Central, Detroit’s tech hub and a world-leading community building solutions and skills at the intersection of mobility and society. Michigan Central aims to not only address critical societal challenges but improve the talent pool in southeast Michigan and unlock more opportunities for Detroit residents.
“At Michigan Central, we believe Detroiters must be included in the new economic opportunities provided by our changing economy,” said Clarinda Barnett-Harrison, Michigan Central’s director of skills. “Climate change, mobility challenges and technological advances will require a new skill set, and we want to make sure Detroiters are equipped with the tools they need to land the in-demand jobs of not only today, but tomorrow.”
Underscoring the need for Michigan Central’s Skills program is the fact that Black and Latino workers are being left behind in the jobs that will lead society into the future. In metro Detroit, only 16% of jobs in growth occupations were held by Black people and 18% by Latinos, according to a Brookings analysis of the American Community Survey. EV adoption at scale will continue to drive demand for technicians, with significant growth in renewable-energy generation and energy storage solutions. The skills gained as an EV charger technician also represent a great steppingstone to other emerging opportunities for Detroiters if they choose to continue their development journey.
“There has to be a workforce dedicated to maintaining the technical complexities of the EV chargers. EV charging stations will be deployed throughout the state, chargers need to work, and they must remain reliable for EV drivers,” said Kameale C. Terry, CEO and co-founder of ChargerHelp!. “For those who think that these jobs aren’t for them, that they can’t do it, I want to assure them that they absolutely can, and we are here to help them every step of the way to ensure they succeed.”
The training program will be the first of its kind to be nationally validated and certified thanks to a course designed specifically for Michigan Central, in partnership with industry leaders such as the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) Sustainable Mobility Solutions. The six- to eight-week program is designed to accommodate the schedules of working adults. Once certified, Detroit residents can expect to make $67,000 a year and up, with the demand almost certain to grow as more EVs and charging stations are rolled out.
Not only will Michigan Central and the city’s Detroit at Work initiative get residents trained, they will help them with job placement after they are certified. Classes for the first cohort will begin this November, with additional sessions opening throughout 2024. Detroiters should go to www .michigancentral.com/chargerhelp to get started.
The State of Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Detroit at Work are helping to fund skills building at Michigan Central. The first ChargerHelp! cohort is being funded by Michigan Central.
“Exclusive training for Detroiters is part of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s commitment to creating more opportunities for those historically left out to build a more equitable Michigan where everyone can get the skills they need to succeed,” said LEO Director Susan Corbin. “Companies go where the best-trained workforces are, and programs like Michigan Central’s are one of the ways we make our state a leader in opportunity and a destination for employees and the jobs they represent.”
“Team Michigan is proud to support Michigan Central in empowering Detroiters as they develop the skills to drive our state’s future as a mobility tech hub and achieve their personal goals. This program in partnership affirms the investments we are making in our state’s greatest assets: the hardworking people of Michigan,” said Quentin Messer Jr., CEO of the MEDC. “Economic development only matters because people matter, and together we are making it clear that no matter what your personal career and life goals are, you can make it in Michigan.”
There are just three requirements to enroll. Participants must be Detroit residents; able to read at a ninth-grade level; and have a high school diploma or GED. If the resident doesn’t have a GED, the Detroit at Work program will help them earn one and get them ready for the next cohort. Detroit at Work will also lead intake for Michigan Central training programs and provide wrap-around support to ensure Detroiters succeed, such as child care and transportation.
Detroit at Work currently has more than 7,000 jobs available for Detroit residents, and has helped place 40,000 people since launching in 2017, and helped many more get a GED and gain skills through efforts such as Learn to Earn, which pays Detroiters as they learn skills.
“We are pleased to partner with Michigan Central to help provide Detroit residents with this training,” said Dana Williams, president and CEO of the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation, which runs Detroit at Work. “Our mission is to prepare Detroiters for good-paying jobs in multiple sectors of the economy, including emerging sectors such as electric-vehicle charging. This partnership does just that. It is good for Detroit and good for Detroiters.”
Founded by Terry and Evette Ellis in Los Angeles in 2020, ChargerHelp! is a technology company created to help bridge the gaps between site hosts, EV charger network providers, and equipment manufacturers. When it became clear that a lack of service technicians was as much of a problem as the lack of integration, CH! began its mission to remove barriers for equal access to good paying jobs and unlock rewarding careers in the electrification industry.
Michigan Central is working on additional training programs for Detroiters, and is committed to having at least 100 city residents certified each year. Those interested in furthering their careers can go to Skills Programming to sign up to be notified when more opportunities are available.
“Economic growth is crucial for Detroit and the region. Michigan Central’s vision is to help create meaningful opportunities that will also contribute to equitable economic growth,” said Joshua Sirefman, Michigan Central’s CEO. “We will do this by investing in skills training and being intentional about creating pathways for Detroit residents.”
ChargerHelp! is a federally certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and a nationally and state-certified Woman Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (WMBE). ChargerHelp! is a technology company providing reliability management services, including the diagnostics, maintenance and repair of EV charging stations, both software and hardware. Through ongoing partnership with workforce development agencies, safety centers, EV network providers and hardware manufacturers, ChargerHelp! is able to leverage its EMPWR Platform and proprietary curriculum to stand up a workforce dedicated to operating and maintaining the different software and hardware technologies existing in the market today.