Michigan students get hands-on EV experience with new scholarship program

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 7:40 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - On Wednesday, April 26, students at Michigan State University were granted an opportunity to learn new, in-demand skills while working at electric vehicle companies across the state. For the first time ever, students have a chance to use up to $10,000 in scholarships while working at companies in Metro Detroit, Lansing, Jackson, and Saginaw.

“I have an internship at Commonwealth in Jackson, Michigan over this summer,” said electrical engineering student, Kurk Edwards.

Thanks to the Michigander EV Scholars Program, Edwards and other MSU students accepted an offer of employment in the growing electric vehicle industry. Edwards said it will be a summer full of hands-on learning outside of the classroom.

“So, I’ll be working on electrical substations and designing them for utility companies,” Edwards said.

Dajuan Hendley will be working with Nissan in Farmington Hills. After hearing the news, Hendley said “for one I felt excited, I was ecstatic. Because it was a great opportunity for me because of the networking and then the whole scholarship thing – it was something that was going to help me tremendously.”

He said the EV Scholars Program is helping propel his career in the industry.

“Being able to network, connect, and learn from experienced professionals that are in positions that I myself eventually want to be in,” Hendley said.

In 2022, Michigan used more than $14 billion on programs to train and employ the next generation – with a heavy focus on in-state retention.

“The automotive industry is undergoing a once-in-a-lifetime transformation with the shift to e-mobility, and MSU is thrilled to be a partner with the MEDC to help drive our state forward in this revolutionary industry,” said Garth Motschenbacher, Employer Engagement Director at the MSU College of Engineering. He said the EV market is emerging in Michigan, “and the state being a leader of that, there’s all kinds of new technology jobs that are very inspirational to our students. They no longer have to go west of the Mississippi to find these opportunities.”

Director of Strategic Planning at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) Spencer Lucker said he’s part of the leadership team that works with companies and educational partners across the state. He said the goal is “to build a talent ecosystem that supports employers and their talent needs -- both current and planning for the future.”

“The Michigander EV Mobility Scholars Program, that we’re here today, is directly tied to the other mobility initiatives that are focusing on talent in this state, such as EV Jobs Academy,” said Lucker.

“And so, the EV Jobs Academy comes together with over 130 stakeholder partners including education providers, economic development, employers all coming together to develop education and training solutions,” said Annie Pentiak, who oversees the EV Jobs Academy for the Labor and Economic Opportunity.

This is a statewide effort to attract and retain talent for a growing industry.

“It opens up a door to so many more opportunities for us,” said Hendley.

Michigan has more than 3,000 jobs available this year in the EV industry and hopes to create up to 300,000 new good-paying jobs by 2030.

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