St. Clair College launches EV technician program as industry revs up

Kerri Breen/CBC News

As electric vehicles (EVs) gain momentum, a new program at St. Clair College will help prepare the workforce for the shift.

Starting this fall, the school is launching a electric vehicle technician program.

“We’re very excited about it, and I think it’s really going to help the economy with what’s coming to Windsor,” said Lido Zuccato, the dean of the schools of Engineering Technologies, Apprenticeship and Skilled Trades at St. Clair College.

It’s a two-year diploma program that includes a work placement in the third semester. After the first year, however, students will receive a certificate in Electric Vehicle Fundamentals and can enter an apprenticeship.

Students will learn about EV powertrains, energy storage systems, and other heavily computerized systems inside an electric vehicle.

“When we started this, pre-COVID, we saw that there was a definite need for a skills-changing in the service repair industry and we saw that there was more of an electronic, electrical, networking, you know, almost like an IT person for a car,” said Dan Vincent, a professor in the program.

The program comes amid big investment in Windsor’s auto industry — all pointed toward electrification.

The $4.9-billion Stellantis-LG Energy Solution electric vehicle battery plant is currently under construction in the east end. It will be the first large-scale facility of its kind in Canada when it opens.

Stellantis also announced plans last year to re-tool the Windsor Assembly Plant and set up two new research and development facilities that focus on EV production and battery technology. 

Plans to develop the program at St. Clair College have been in the works for several years. As part of that process, the school consulted with auto industry.

“There [were] a few things that we had to adjust back and forth based on the feedback, but in general the feedback was yes, this is in high demand,” Zuccato said.

“And you know, you could, you could feel it, right? … You can see the EVs are ramping up, electrification is ramping up, automobility, everything is ramping up to it. So you know, we did get tremendous industry support.”