Goodwill of North Georgia is training people to work in the cleantech industry

The first 15 participants of Goodwill’s new cleantech workforce training program standing with community partners. (Marlon Hyde/WABE)

Expanding Georgia’s charging infrastructure is a critical step in the electric vehicle (EV) transition. 

That’s why Goodwill of North Georgia is launching a cleantech workforce training program. Workers will get paid to learn technical skills for jobs in EV charging.

Steve Preston, CEO of Goodwill Industries International, says the training program targets people who are either unemployed or in very low-wage jobs.

“It’s really exciting because it’s supporting people who need better jobs on the one hand, and it’s supporting employers who need to fill jobs, so they can grow and be competitive and serve their customers,” said Preston.

Growth in the number of registered vehicles continues to outpace the number of charging locations in Georgia. Over 60,000 electric cars and trucks were registered last year, mostly in metro Atlanta.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Georgia has just over 1,500 charging locations. That’s around 40 EVs per location in the state.

“The more [chargers] we put in place, the more people can maintain, the more people that’s gonna feel comfortable changing over from gas to EV,” said military veteran Quontavious Miles.

Quontavious Miles is one of the first 15 participants of Goodwill’s Clean Tech Infrastructure Academy. (Marlon Hyde/ WABE)

He’s excited to trade in his job as a forklift operator for a shot at a career in the growing EV industry. “I think that’s something you should be a part of because it’s the wave of the future.”

In partnership with the IT company Accenture, the nonprofit plans to have three cohorts with a maximum of 15 participants per group over the next few months.

They’ll learn technical skills for jobs in EV charging and get paid to do it.

“For me, it will mean stability for my family in general,” said Miles. “To be in a field where I know that I don’t have to think about man, is this job going to be stable?”

The first group starts their training next Monday.

Anna Roach, CEO of the Atlanta Regional Commission, says community partners and federal investments allow them to offer this program for free to the public.

“It’s just this beautiful nexus of the private sector, the public sector and the nonprofit sector, coming together uniquely and innovatively to really make sure that we have the workforce necessary to drive this [Georgia] economy that’s already on fire, but can always get better,” said Roach.