Clark College to launch new EV Repair Training Program

Senators help secure additional funds for tribal children programs


Clark College will receive $1 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to develop a new clean energy technical education program that teaches students how to manufacture and repair electric vehicles.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate appropriations committee, announced the funding secured for Clark College last week.

“This new program at Clark College will offer valuable hands-on training experience to manufacture and repair electric vehicles that students will encounter after graduation — helping ensure that the state of Washington is developing a workforce that can keep up with the rapidly evolving auto industry,” Cantwell said in a news release.

The funding for the new program was championed by Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Murray in the latest round of appropriations bills for 2024 passed by the Senate, March 22. It’s among three grants across Southwest Washington that the senators helped to secure.

“As chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ve spent the past year working diligently to secure congressionally directed spending for projects in Washington state that would make the biggest impact. Washington state is a leader in decarbonization, and this $1 million investment in a new technical education program at Clark College will help our state train our next generation of EV technicians,” Murray said in the release. “As we work to electrify more and more of our economy, it’s important that we have a skilled workforce to support our EV fleet and the infrastructure that goes along with it. This grant will help more young people in Washington state get good-paying jobs, cut carbon emissions and move us closer toward a fully clean energy economy.”

The $1 million in new funds allows the Clark College Center for Clean Energy to purchase tools and equipment necessary to launch the program, including a Class 8 ZEV Freightliner — a zero-emission electric semi-truck — and a new Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt, the release stated.

In addition to the EV program grant, the senators helped secure $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe to fund a mobile health unit for substance use disorder treatment, the release stated.

These funds will help pay for salaries and equipment for the mobile health unit, which will allow more people with opioid use disorder to receive needed treatment, including medication-assisted treatment. The team — consisting of a peer counselor, prescriber, nurse, and medical assistant — will provide services at key locations in Clark, Cowlitz and King counties to expand delivery and access to drug treatment services where patients live.

The third grant the senators helped secure is for $475,000 from HHS for Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Clark County to create a therapeutic preschool program catered to children who have experienced trauma due to abuse or neglect, the release stated.

The YWCA Clark County Preschool is transitioning to become a therapeutic preschool to serve the most vulnerable children aged 2 1/2 to 5.

“I’m also proud to have secured $700,000 for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s mobile health unit after seeing it myself earlier this year and talking to tribal leaders about the incredible work they do to tackle substance use disorder in Clark County and the surrounding communities,” Murray said in the release. “Additionally, funding to support a therapeutic preschool program at YWCA Clark County will mean a great deal for children in Clark County who have experienced trauma already in their young lives. Funding for child care and pre-K was a top priority for me across our funding bills this year — I’m proud to have been able to deliver a $1 billion boost for child care and early learning programs, and I’ll keep doing more to tackle the child care crisis families are facing in Clark County and across the country.”