US DOE lithium-battery workforce initiative

Last updated: 3 August 2023

As the energy transition brings about surging demand for critical minerals, employment needs in the sector are also poised to grow. In particular, the lithium battery supply chain will underpin growth in an array of clean energy technologies from electric vehicles to energy storage to support wind and solar power. Several recent reports commissioned by the Biden administration have underscored the need for the United States to develop and sustain a robust workforce for the domestic battery supply chain and for the entire transition to clean energy. As part of the President’s 100-Day Supply Chain Review for the Energy Sector Industrial Base, the US Department of Energy (DOE) recently released "America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy Transition".

In 2021, the National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries 2021-2030 published by the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries recommended the creation of a secure battery materials and technology supply chain by 2030. In response, the DOE, along with the US Department of Labor and the AFL-CIO, in March 2022 launched the Lithium-Battery Workforce Initiative to support lithium battery production. The USD 5 million investment will support five pilot training programmes in the energy and automotive sectors as well as promote workforce partnerships between industry and labour along the domestic lithium battery supply chain. The pilot programmes will include manufacturing companies, labour organisation and training providers toward the development of a national workforce strategy, and will analyse job tasks and worker competencies in lithium battery production. The analysis will inform the development of industry-approved credentials and support worker training programmes for the entire supply chain. The workforce initiative supplements other efforts, such as USD 3 billion allocated under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for projects that boost domestic battery production and recycling.

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