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Case Study: Workforce Development Pilot Project in California

Workforce Development Pilot Project in California by PEM Motion and Aura Planning.
Trainer explaining a topic to one of the participants of the training, inside the installations of the mobility center where the training took place.
© PEM Motion

Discover how PEM Motion, in partnership with Aura Planning, is driving impactful change in California, USA. Through innovative training programmes, they are empowering refugees, women, youth, auto mechanics and construction workers. This article highlights the extraordinary journey of these initiatives, demonstrating a path to e-mobility that is embraced by both the individual and the community.

The importance of preparing and training the workforce for EV operations

By the end of 2022, the EV market has successfully reached a significant milestone, capturing an impressive 19% share of the new vehicle sales market in California.

This figure continues to rise, driven by the increasing availability of EV models, a well-established charging infrastructure and enticing incentives that are attracting a growing number of consumers to adopt the technology. EVs now account for 21.1% of California’s market share in Q1 2023, and while there is still a long way to go to meet California’s ambitious goal of all new passenger vehicle sales being zero-emission by 2035, this continued market share growth reflects the accelerating transition of the EV market from early adopters to mass adoption, as shown in the next chart.

A graph showcasing the growth of the electric vehicle market share in california in percentage, from 2022 to the first quarter of 2023.Click to expand

Electric Vehicle Market Share in California. Veloz (2023)

Even developed countries are struggling with the transition to E-Mobility

A recent study by a team from the University of California, Berkeley, and the non-profit organization Cool the Earth found that more than 25% of public charging stations are not working. It highlighted the urgent need to both expand the EV charging network and repair the stations that are not working to meet the accelerating EV market demand. This is how the IDEAL ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) Workforce Pilot Project came about, thanks to PEM Motion and AURA Planning. One of the training objectives is to establish an IDEAL approach, which stands for Inclusive, Diverse, Equitable, Accessible and Local.

Training development

The main topics on which staff were trained were based on three main areas of E-Mobility, such as:

  • EVCI (electric vehicle charging infrastructure) installation
  • ZEV manufacturing & maintenance
  • ZEV driving and operation.

The course content, meticulously prepared by PEM Motion, was brought to life through on-site training by AURA Planning. With the support of PEM Motion, these insightful sessions unfolded within the facilities of the CMC (California Mobility Center). This collaborative effort ensures a seamless blend of expertise and hands-on experience, enriching the learning journey for all participants, including refugees, women, youth, auto mechanics and construction workers.

Three people under a lifted EV as part of the training, to learn about the components that it has. EV Training. Aura Planning and PEM Motion (2023)

The CMC, a mobility hub designed and built by PEM Motion, provides future mobility innovators and industry incumbents with access to programs and resources that accelerate the pace of commercialization in California and globally. Areas of focus include smart and shared mobility solutions, fueling and charging infrastructure, and automated, connected and EVs for on- and off-highway use. PEM Motion is also taking the initiative to establish a mobility hub in Rwanda, Africa.

Learners were trained to gain new skills in electrification and charging. There was a 4-week classroom course with various trainers and then a 6-week hands-on course.

A man holding a part of the EV with personal protective equipment, learning in the training. Training activities. Aura Planning and PEM Motion (2023)

The hands-on training included charger installation (level 2 charger assembly, pipe bending, wire routing, diagnostics and troubleshooting), welding and manual fabrication techniques, learning CAD for product development, and learning automated manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing, laser cutting, and CAM and CNC operation. Students are also introduced to automotive basics (tyre pressure, fluids, etc.) and get to work on a Nissan Leaf EV by removing the battery pack; some students were able to remove cells from a battery pack.

The training had a profound impact on the participants, who were deeply impressed by the use of Virtual Reality (V-Ray) for certain topics. This innovative approach demonstrated the fusion of cutting-edge technology and training, adding a unique dimension to their learning experience.

One of the trainers explaining a design of a prototype of an EV that is developed in the facilities of the mobility center. Training execution. Aura Planning and PEM Motion (2023)

To see the videos of this amazing experience, please click here.


In conclusion, the training conducted at the CMC facilities was a transformative endeavor that extended knowledge and practical skills to refugees, women, youth, auto mechanics and construction workers. This comprehensive initiative introduced them to the field of E-Mobility, equipping them with theoretical insights and practical experience. By bridging the gap between learning and application, this programme not only enriched their expertise, but also laid the foundation for a more inclusive and technologically savvy workforce, fostering empowerment and growth within diverse communities.

To ensure a successful transition to E-Mobility, governments, educational institutions and industry must work together to develop comprehensive workforce development programmes. These programmes, such as this course, should focus on training individuals for the specific skills needed in the e-mobility sector, fostering innovation and driving economic growth in a sustainable way.

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