Department of Energy Unveils Battery Technician Program

Mercedes Battery Pack
Credit: Mercedes-Benz


Hot on the heels of the EPA and DOT's emissions and electrified adoption rules, the Department of Energy in partnership with the Department of Labor have unveiled guidelines for apprenticeships for battery machine operators. 

Announced on March 26, 2024, the Battery Workforce Initiative (BWI) certification standards were created in partnership with battery manufacturers, community colleges, and unions. The certified apprenticeship training standards will be used to inform BWI training materials that will be deployed to companies and education providers.

The curriculum is currently being developed by the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Lab for both the BWI pilot training program and the Battery Workforce Challenge's (BWC) Program Regional Workforce Training (RWT). The BWI pilot will launch in April 2024 while the The Argonne National Laboratory will launch BWC's RWT hubs this summer. 

In an announcement about the program, Bob Galyen, NAATBatt Chief Technology Officer and SAE International Fellow stated, "After spending 48 years in the battery industry and having worked in the world’s largest lithium battery manufacturing operations, I know that training is the key to a successful battery industry. I congratulate the Department of Energy for bringing stakeholders together through the Battery Workforce Initiative to jumpstart the high-quality training the industry needs. BWI will accelerate our return to global technology leadership and help create more middle-class jobs." 

BWI Jobs Visuals
Credit: Department of Energy


As more and more US-based battery facilities are announced by automakers and other companies, the need for battery technicians is anticipated to skyrocket. By creating guidelines for new employees entering this vocation, the Department of Energy and its partners can be sure that all new employees will have the same baseline set of skills. 

In a press release, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated, "The Battery Workforce Initiative is a perfect example of how agencies and community college partners can come together to create new career pathways into the clean energy workforce."

To make sure that the standards established work in the real world, BWI has been working with new and established companies, academia, and labor organizations since 2022.

BWI isn't finished. Its next order of business is to investigate other jobs in the battery supply chain. The organization has already started working with stakeholders in the battery-grade materials processing sector and those working towards recycling the batteries being placed in all these EVs and hybrid vehicles. Like battery manufacturing, it's planning on mapping out the skills required for that work. 

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