YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Foxconn is looking for trained workers and Youngstown State University wants to provide them.
A partnership has been forged between Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn) and YSU for a national electric vehicle training center that will focus on helping to train workers for the emerging EV industry and build a workforce around advanced manufacturing, energy storage and other technology solutions, including AI, 5G and cybersecurity.
The training center will be on the Foxconn property in Lordstown. A formal deal is expected to be executed within a few months.
The training center is expected to have a national reach and generate a strong economic impact on the region and beyond, according to YSU President Jim Tressel.
The education will help support the electric vehicle industry and its workforce needs. It will address a knowledge and skilled experience gap and find people who want more specialized training.
“On the other end of the spectrum, you have controls engineers or software engineers that will still meet up, and we have to change them at the same time. So, a mix of all talent and experience,” said Rick Rajaie, vice president of Foxconn operations.
In addition to Foxconn’s support, money for the center is expected to come from private funding from General Motors and Ultium Cells LLC and YSU.
Rajaie said 20 groups may want to produce an electric vehicle here. He knows the national training center will help him find workers.
“You have to tackle this workforce from very unorthodox, innovative fashion, which is the reason we’re here today,” he said.
Foxconn envisions its other partners being involved too, including suppliers who may end up having local facilities in the Voltage Valley. The center is expected to have a national reach to help the electric vehicle industry fill its needs.
“The only way we will seize this moment is to think big,” Tressel said.
The U.S. Department of Energy commissioned YSU earlier this year to conduct a national and regional labor market assessment which showed the need for a national workforce center focusing on apprenticeships, earning credentials and new learning modes.
“A national hub will help break down barriers and access to educational programming, create greater awareness of opportunities, and leverage standardized best practices that can be deployed across any geographic footprint,” said Jennifer Oddo, executive director of Workforce Education and Innovation at YSU.
Foxconn says it’s preparing to train and hire the students but also give them a trendy, high-end place to live, close to the plant.