IBEW Local 64 electricians take charge with EV training

As a new wave of technology strikes the globe, one industry is taking proactive steps to make sure everyone is ready ahead of the storm.

Several journeyman electricians from the NECA IBEW Mahoning Valley chapter have completed an electric vehicle infrastructure training program, or EVITP.

Mark Gentile of MG Electric, Eric Hassen of Tri-Area Electric and Jim Shirilla from CR Electric were among those who locally completed the course.

Ahead of the curve

The national International Brotherhood Electrical Workers challenged union locals to register at least 10,000 EVITP-certified electricians.

The program is a nonprofit, 20-hour course for journeymen electricians.

Embracing the “Voltage Valley” movement, local electricians are learning what they can to help usher in the Valley’s new era.

Mark Gentile, president of MG Electric, is one of a handful of local electricians who recently completed an EV charging station course. Here he’s standing with a charging station his company installed at the WRTA location on Mahoning Avenue in Youngstown.

“This program is important to our members because it certifies them to install charging stations in any application,” said Scott Satterlee, business manager of IBEW Local 64.

It’s open to any journeyman electrician with at least 8,000 work hours, he added.

Through EVITP, members were able to access the courses through the YJATC and Electrical Training Alliance, Satterlee said.

All of the 20-hour coursework was completed online, with a certification test in-person with a test administrator.

A sparking investment

This specific training has been an in-depth look at what goes into installing an EV charging station, Hassen said.

He jumped at the opportunity to further his education.

“I wanted to be ready for the way our industry will change,” Hassen said.

The course is an investment, all three electricians said.

“In the long run, it’s beneficial for electricians to be on the forefront of learning all the nuts and bolts of charging stations,” Gentile said.

The EVITP also means a level of job security for those who complete it.

“The more you know within the electrical industry, the more valuable you are as an electrician,” Gentile said.

That will lead to more job security in an already buzzing Mahoning Valley, he added.

Shirilla said that a qualified electrician who has gone through the course understands how electric cars and charging stations work.

“It’s a great thing to learn, even at my age and I have eight more years in the trade,” he said.

It’s important to Shirilla to also set an example. He’s on the apprenticeship committee and encourages apprentices to learn everything possible so they stay viable.

“The evolution of technology is fascinating.”

Things that make you go “Hmm”

As with any upskilling or training course, the local electricians learned things they didn’t know prior.

Hassen knew EVs were an evolving technology over the last two decades, but he didn’t know they’ve been around since the late 19th century.

“It’s insane,” he said. “They couldn’t go far.”

Between the 1930s and 1970s, interest in EVs diminished, and was reignited in the 1990s, Hassen said.

Shirilla echoed Hassen, and added that the technology in electric cars is astounding.

“I didn’t realize what was involved in electric vehicles,” Shirilla said.

“We’re inching closer to this technology being more relevant. We’re figuring it out,” Hassen said.