Southern Maine Community College has launched the first electric vehicle program in Maine that trains vehicle repair technicians to diagnose and service electric and hybrid vehicles.
The class is designed for technicians who work at auto repair shops, auto dealers and other vehicle-related businesses. For the class, students take a hands-on weeklong course in SMCC’s Automotive Technology Center after first completing 32 hours of online instruction.
The first class, which is full, is being offered this month. Additional classes will be scheduled in 2022.
“The lack of trained technicians is about to become an international crisis,” said Ruth Morrison, SMCC’s Automotive Technology program chair who will teach future classes. “There are a lot of electric and hybrid vehicles being produced, and we don’t have enough people who know how to work on them.”
The short-term training course is being offered through SMCC Workforce Training for companies and organizations that need employees trained in electric vehicle repair. The course teaches students to perform hands-on work and prepares them to take the ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) Light Duty Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Specialist Certification Test.
Among the students in the first electric vehicle repair class are automotive master technicians from VIP Tires & Service, an automotive service provider and tire dealer based in Auburn with 65 locations in New England. With electric vehicle sales growing fast in Maine, the U.S. and globally, VIP needs certified workers for electric vehicles, said Tim Winkeler, VIP’s President and CEO.
“Electric vehicles are clearly the wave of the future, and until now there haven’t been any training options available in Maine,” Winkeler said. “Having our automotive technicians trained and certified will allow VIP the ability to offer local electric vehicle repair to Maine residents.”
SMCC Workforce Training offers short-term training opportunities in a number of fields ranging from computers, welding and construction to hospitality, medical assisting and manufacturing. On-campus housing may also be available for those attending these programs, making training for those from across the state more accessible.