SOUTH PORTLAND — Southern Maine Community College has launched the first electric vehicle program in Maine that trains vehicle repair technicians to diagnose and service electric and hybrid vehicles.

The class is designed for technicians who work at auto repair shops, auto dealers and other vehicle-related businesses. For the class, students take a hands-on weeklong course in Southern Maine Community College’s Automotive Technology Center after first completing 32 hours of online instruction.

The first class, which is full, is being offered this month. Additional classes will be scheduled in 2022.

“The lack of trained technicians is about to become an international crisis,” said Ruth Morrison, the college’s Automotive Technology program chair who will teach future classes, in an email. “There are a lot of electric and hybrid vehicles being produced, and we don’t have enough people who know how to work on them.”

The short-term training course is being offered through Southern Maine Community College workforce training for companies and organizations that need employees trained in electric vehicle repair. The course teaches students to perform hands-on work and prepares them to take the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence’s Light Duty Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Specialist Certification Test.

Among the students in the first electric vehicle repair class are automotive master technicians from VIP Tires and Service, an automotive service provider and tire dealer based in Auburn with 65 locations in New England.

With electric vehicle sales growing fast in Maine, the U.S. and globally, VIP needs certified workers for electric vehicles, said Tim Winkeler, VIP’s president and CEO. “Electric vehicles are clearly the wave of the future, and until now there haven’t been any training options available in Maine,” Winkeler said in an email. “Having our automotive technicians trained and certified will allow VIP the ability to offer local electric vehicle repair to Maine residents.”

Southern Maine Community College workforce training offers short-term training opportunities in a number of fields ranging from computers, welding and construction to hospitality, medical assisting and manufacturing. On-campus housing may also be available for those attending these programs, making training for those from across the state more accessible.

For more information, visit the Southern Maine Community College workforce training webpage or contact workforce training at [email protected]

Presenting a $3,000 check to The Locker Project, which serves 30 preschools, schools and neighborhood sites in Portland, South Portland, Saco, Westbrook and Gorham, is Linda Halleran (middle), community engagement manager at Town & Country Federal Credit Union. Pictured with Halleran, from left, are Steve Phillips, operations manager for The Locker Project, and Kathryn Sargent, executive director with The Locker Project. The credit union made contributions to hunger organizations that serve Cumberland and York counties to help fight holiday food insecurity. Courtesy photo

From left, Jim Welch, South Portland Food Cupboard, Linda Halleran, Community engagement manager at Town & Country Federal Credit Union and Dwayne Hopkins, executive director for the food pantry. Halleran presented a contribution to the organization as part of the credit union’s “Gift of Food” initiative to fight holiday food insecurity. Courtesy photo

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