Federal Support is Key to a Worker-and Climate-Friendly Transition to Electric Vehicles  

By March 24, 2022March 29th, 2022No Comments
Virginia Alvino Young is the Senior Communications Associate at Sequal Consulting

New Research Report on the Future of the Auto Industry Underscores Federal Support is Key to a Worker-and Climate-Friendly Transition to Electric Vehicles  

By Virginia Alvino Young

In a virtual event this week, ReImagine Appalachia joined the MIT Roosevelt Project to release the findings of the new Industrial Heartland Case Study, which finds that with the right federal policies, 3,150,000 new jobs could be created in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio, including 265,000 new manufacturing jobs over the next three decades. 

The event included remarks from Senator Sherrod Brown, Ernie Moniz, Former U.S. Department of Energy Secretary, Mayor Tito Brown of Youngstown, OH, and Mayor Sharetta Smith of Lima, OH, on the importance of adapting regional manufacturing to electric vehicle technology. 

Researchers conducted more than 60 focus groups and dozens of interviews with autoworkers, management, community stakeholders, environmental justice advocates, and public health experts in the tristate area to evaluate past transitions and dislocations in the motor vehicle industry. 

Our community was once the Steel Valley, and now we’ve got to focus on being the Voltage Valley.”

-Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown

The research reveals key challenges and best practices to promote equitable solutions to the anticipated dislocations caused by motor vehicle electrification and other clean energy transition initiatives in the region, as well as the importance of including environmental justice and equity in planning for the future. 

“Ensuring that all communities will benefit from this transition and transformation of the automotive sector is critical,” said Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome, CEO of Empowering A Green Environment and Economy.  “Those benefits – especially for low-income communities and communities of color – must include addressing legacy environmental pollution, prioritizing resources to reduce health disparities in communities that have been breathing dirty air for decades, and ensure that these communities are able to not only afford cleaner vehicles, but public transportation is electrified as well.  We have an opportunity here. Environmental Justice and Equity must be at the forefront of all of our decision making”

Senator Sherrod Brown sees electric vehicle manufacturing as a great economic opportunity for Ohio and the rest of Appalachia.

If policymakers don’t keep working people top of mind as they move the nation to zero emissions by 2050, the tri-state region of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan could lose over 560,000 jobs, including 50,000 motor vehicle manufacturing jobs over the next three decades.

A recording of today’s press conference and webinar can be accessed here

The study is available at this link.

We’re looking forward to our next electrification event on April 5th. Register here.