RVC Charged Up by New Electric Vehicle Repair Courses

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, electric vehicle sales could reach 40% of total passenger car sales by 2023.

black electric vehicle in RVC lab

John Skupien, RVC automotive instructor, working under the hood of a black electric vehicle.

The increase in electric vehicles on the road means an increased demand for skilled technicians to service those vehicles. Thanks to a grant from the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN), Rock Valley College has developed a training program to answer the call.

“Rock Valley College piloted the electric and hybrid vehicle repair classes last spring after months of research and curriculum development. Now, we are excited to launch the program more widely to help reskill members of the automotive service industry to meet the growing demand,” said John Skupien, automotive instructor at Rock Valley College.

Winnebago and Boone Counties, which comprise the majority of the RVC district, have each experienced an increase in electric vehicle registrations of more than 300% since January 2018 (Office of the Illinois Secretary of State). IGEN awarded RVC a $66,800 grant to make this possible for RVC and the stateline area.

A team of seven from RVC devoted time to research and develop the program prior to launch. The team visited multiple EV training facilities throughout the Midwest, including a Tesla START facility in Ohio. While hybrid models such as the Toyota Prius have been in production for more than two decades, the greater Rockford area has not had any options for hands-on training for technicians.

“Our training consists of three dedicated courses to not only train new technicians but also to reskill existing ones in our region,” offered Skupien. “We will offer the courses as hybrid courses so that students can complete online coursework on their own and hands-on training in person in our automotive lab.”

To better support students, RVC has done a bit of remodeling in its automotive lab. The college purchased three electric vehicles, installed charging stations, and created isolated space for the safe storage of the vehicles and high voltage battery work.

The three courses include:

  • Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Powertrain
  • Advanced Vehicle and Chassis Systems
  • Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Battery Systems

“The college is grateful to IGEN for providing the resources for us to continue our work in building sustainable programs to grow a green workforce,” said Heather Snider, RVC Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Communications and IGEN Grant Liaison. “This allows RVC to enhance as well as create renewable energy-related courses and programs.”

For more information about electric and hybrid vehicle repair at RVC, visit RockValleyCollege.edu or contact John Skupien at (815) 921-3002.

About IGEN

The Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) grant project is funded by the IL Environmental Protection Agency. RVC is a sub-recipient under Joliet Junior College, acting as a fiscal agent for IGEN. Awarded institutions are charged with researching and developing an Electric Vehicle (EV) service curriculum for integration into existing automotive technology programs.