Rock Valley College Gets a Boost to Charge Up Its E-Vehicle Repair Program



Associate Professor John Skupien works on an electric vehicle at RVC.

Rock Valley College was awarded a competitive grant of $425,000 to expand and enhance its EV course offerings, initially launched in August 2023. The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), through its Rev Up EV! Community College Initiative has awarded $9.4 Million to 25 Illinois community colleges to help support the state’s growing Electric Vehicle (EV) industry through job training and technology development programs.

"We are thrilled to harness the energy of this generous grant to spark innovation and growth within our Automotive Program. This investment will not only electrify the educational experience at Rock Valley College but will also drive positive change within our community, creating a sustainable and dynamic future for all," said Dr. Hansen Stewart, Vice President of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development at Rock Valley College.

Overall, the funding will promote the development and growth of training programs that prepare individuals for careers in EV technology and EV-specific advanced manufacturing fields, focusing on programs and training in areas most in demand by EV businesses and industry partners.

The current EV course offerings at RVC include:

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

The grant will allow RVC the opportunity to create additional EV courses and purchase laboratory items necessary to train students in electrical vehicle repair. The program is already in high demand as students seek out these courses to future-proof their automotive careers and to meet the growing needs of employers in our region.

Employers like Rockford Mass Transit Department have partnered with the college to offer customized EV training to its employees. Rock Valley College continues to demonstrate its investment and commitment to expanding its EV Footprint to meet the needs of the regional workforce.

“Thanks to Governor Pritzker’s leadership, Illinois is at the forefront of change to vehicle electrification and continues to attract new EV industry companies. This funding will allow our community college system to increase the trained workforce and create new technology that will support the growing needs of the industry for years to come,” said ICCB Executive Director Brian Durham.

As a recipient of the grant, RVC is required to participate in the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN) led IL EV Network, an industry collaborative of key stakeholders from industry, higher education (faculty, staff, two-year and four-year), and state agencies to guide the expansion of light and heavy-duty Electric Vehicle training that satisfies industry demand for high-skill individuals.

“We are excited to work with these outstanding community colleges to discuss critical industry trends, talent needs in high-priority roles, systemwide strategies, barriers, solutions, and opportunities for collaboration to expand the EV / related advanced manufacturing workforce in Illinois,” said David Husemoller, executive director of IGEN.

The ability to expand the RVC electric vehicle repair course offerings at RVC marks a significant step towards addressing the growing demand for skilled professionals in the rapidly evolving automotive industry. As our region increasingly shifts towards sustainable transportation, the courses meet the demand for electric vehicle repair expertise and play a crucial role in fostering environmental consciousness.

With the support of the Rev Up EV! Community College Initiative, RVC will continue to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the field of electric vehicle maintenance. The college prepares individuals for promising careers and contributes to the broader effort to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. This initiative underscores the vital role that educational institutions play in shaping the workforce of the future.


About the Illinois Community College Board

The Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) is the state coordinating organization for the Illinois Community College System - the third largest in the country and the leading public workforce development trainer in the state. The ICCB has statutory responsibility for administering state and federal grants to community college districts and adult education providers and managing high school equivalency testing for Illinois. Illinois community colleges serve over 600,000 residents each year in credit, noncredit, and continuing education courses. Illinois is home to 48 colleges in 39 community college districts which provide high quality, accessible, cost-effective educational opportunities to the entire state.