Wallace State Community College: POWERing Electric Vehicle Learning

For years, Wallace State Community College- Hanceville has been using ARC support to connect its 5,000 students with top-tier training and career pathways in high-growth industries in Alabama. A new $1,169,958 POWER grant will help them continue that work and prepare students for the future of the automotive industry.  

Wallace State used a 2021 ARC POWER grant for their “Prepping the Talent Pipeline for Economic Growth and Diversification” project, which assessed the current and projected state of automotive manufacturing in Appalachian Alabama. The findings of the assessment show that automotive manufacturing has helped to fill the gap of coal impact job losses in Alabama, employing more than 24,000 Alabamians in high-wage jobs in the last 25 years.  

Now, with their 2022 POWER award, Wallace State’s Supporting Electric Vehicle Manufacturing and Maintenance in North Alabama project will put their assessment into action. Students in the Mechatronics, Automotive Services, and Diesel Technician programs will now focus more closely on smart manufacturing, servicing electric vehicles and electric heavy-duty trucks, and other automotive and skills certifications for emerging industry needs. The project will partner with renowned organizations such as the American Trucking Association, Freightliner, Kenworth, and Mercedes-Benz to ensure students are both equipped for potential employers and connected to high-wage opportunities.  

By protecting existing automotive workers, and training both incumbent and new workers, for continued relevance and upward mobility, Wallace State is helping build a competitive workforce prepared for the increased demand for electric vehicles. They hope to serve 230 students by the third year of programming, with a business impact supporting 15 counties in north central Alabama.  

Learn more about ARC’s role in growing the automotive industry in Alabama and Mississippi in this discussion from Stop #3: Building Appalachian Businesses of the Appalachia Envisioned Roadshow.