Eastern Gateway Charges Up for an EV Future

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Advances in the energy and electrical-vehicle industry now underway across the Mahoning Valley are likely to lure new companies, new products and new opportunities to the region in the coming years.

Eastern Gateway Community College plans to be in the center of this transition.

“It’s going to create a lot of jobs. It’s going to bring people back to this area,” says Arthur Daly, Eastern Gateway’s senior vice president and chief development officer. “We want them to be prepared for the future jobs that are coming in the next three to five years.”

Eastern Gateway announced Monday that it has secured $914,000 in federal funding to establish an electric-vehicle technology-training center, which would include the installation of equipment and technology.

Daly said the training facility would most likely be located in Trumbull County, where EGCC once had a presence. “We’re looking to get back into Trumbull County at some capacity again,” he said.

No specific site has been selected, Daly added.

The community college is already working closely with industrial partners such as Ultium Cells LLC, Daly said, which in August began production of cells used in EV batteries.

“The plan is to develop a training presence in conjunction with all of our partners,” Daly added, noting that much of this growth will likely be in Trumbull County first. 

Most of the funding would be used to purchase equipment and new software technology, Daly noted. 

While much of the curriculum has already been developed for the EV space, Daly said Eastern Gateway has the ability to adapt its programs to accommodate products and companies that are new to the region.

“That’s a critical piece to this,” he said. “We’re open to customized training for other organizations coming to the Valley.”

Daly emphasized as the EV industry ramps up, the Mahoning Valley will require multiple training and manufacturing partners to prepare new workers and upskill those in the existing workforce who are interested in EV careers.

“We’re not going to build cars, but we’re going to train people how to maintain those vehicles,” Daly said. “Whether it’s a tractor or another vehicle that comes down the line.”

The grant funding was included in a comprehensive federal funding package passed by Congress in late 2022. It was part of $19 million in spending for projects in the 13th District by former U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan.

Michael Geoghegan, Eastern Gateway president, said in a news release distributed Monday that the Mahoning Valley is quickly becoming “the Voltage Valley” and expressed his appreciation to Ryan for helping secure the training funds.

“We have an opportunity to be world leaders in electric vehicle technology,” Geoghegan said. “Eastern Gateway is ready to train the workers who will build and install the technology and the parts to equip electric vehicles. We thank Congressman Ryan for seeing the future, and we can’t wait to prepare our students to take the next step in their careers in electric vehicle technology and equipment.”

Daly said it’s imperative the region plan for the transition early so it’s fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunities in the future.

“In 10 or 15 years, the push that we’re doing today will yield a lot of benefits for people career-wise in the future,” Daly said. 

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.