Blast Detroit has launched an innovative program, the EV Automotive Mobility Program, that equips Detroiters with the skills necessary for jobs that will soon be in high demand. The program offers hands-on training in the maintenance and repair of electric vehicles, as well as education in internal combustion engine technology, in an effort to bridge the gap and address the racial disparity within the electric vehicle (EV) industry.
Only roughly 2% of EV owners are Black, a statistic often attributed to vehicle costs and a notable lack of charging stations in predominantly Black neighborhoods, often referred to as “charging deserts.” The racial disparity within the EV industry is not just about car ownership; it extends to broader implications for public health and economic opportunities.
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High asthma rates and air pollution have disproportionately affected Black Americans in zip codes where electric vehicle adoption has been slower due to a lack of infrastructure. Additionally, the lack of charging stations has hindered mobility and participation in the gig economy, especially in urban areas.
Ray Smith, the visionary behind the Deroit program, spoke with One Detroit Senior Producer Bill Kubota, to shed some light on the critical mission of the program and the skills students are being taught. Smith also talks about how he hopes the program will narrow the employment gap, improve health outcomes, and promote green job opportunities in communities of color.
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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.