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US Government Grants $3M to MidAmerica for EV & Battery Workforce Training

6/20/24: This has been edited from the original release to include information about a grant the city of Tulsa OK was also recently awarded.


Today the U.S. Department of Commerce announced they were awarding $3,000,000 to the Oklahoma Ordnance Works Authority (OOWA) who own and operate the MidAmerica Industrial Park(MAIP) in Pryor, Oklahoma.

The grant will support the construction of new classroom and laboratory space and the procurement of related equipment at the MidAmerica Center of Excellence to provide training in manufacturing electric vehicles and battery production technology.


Local entities will also donate $750,000 and it is expected to create 210 jobs and generate $6.5 million in private investment.


“This EDA investment will support Pryor’s workforce training and development in critical technologies, getting workers the skills they need for good jobs and spurring private investment.” - Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.


Although not named in the press release, this expansion of workforce training should directly impact Canoo who currently operates a battery module manufacturing facility within the industrial park. At one time they also had plans to open a large EV manufacturing facility before pivoting to Oklahoma City after local residents struck down a ballot measure in 2022 that aimed to create a special tax district for Panasonic and Canoo.


Panasonic paused their plans to announce another US manufacturing site but at some point in the future they will again move forward with continuing to expand their battery manufacturing capacity. The Panacanoo fire may yet still live on...


Either way, with local battery pack manufacturing and their own EV manufacturing facility still close by in Oklahoma City, this award to pay for a local work force in emerging manufacturing skills is a big win for Canoo despite funds not going directly to them.


Another similar grant award, this time from the Department of Energy, was to the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Earlier this month they were one of seven contestants selected to each receive $100,000 for winning "Phase 2: Create" of the Manufacture Advanced Key Energy Infrastructure (MAKE IT) Prize Strategies Track.


Tulsa was awarded $50,000 and entry into Phase 1 by submitting a concept roadmap on how to expand Tulsa’s energy sector to include a hub for clean energy companies, from manufacturing through recycling.


With the $100,000 and entry into phase 3, Tulsa will continue to forge a strong foundation to allow local manufacturing to thrive, which includes developing workforce initiatives that meet the needs of both the community and clean energy manufacturers.


For Phase 3: Activate, the city will have to finalize their roadmap and obtain a commitment from at least one entity interested in establishing a clean energy manufacturing facility in the region to receive $250,000.


Despite current headlines about slowdowns in demand for emerging electric vehicles and technology sector layoffs, it's clear that things are still heating up in Oklahoma as they prepare for the inevitable future.


 




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  1. Expansion of Skilled Workforce:

The establishment of a training center at MidAmerica Industrial Park will cultivate a pool of skilled workers specializing in EV battery technology. Canoo, which operates a major production facility in this park, stands to gain direct access to these newly trained professionals. This reduces the company's recruitment and training costs while ensuring a steady supply of qualified personnel familiar with the latest EV battery technologies.


  2. Enhanced Technological Capabilities:

With a local workforce trained in the latest EV battery systems, Canoo can leverage these advanced skills to improve its own manufacturing processes. This alignment with cutting-edge technology and expertise will help Canoo stay competitive and innovate more efficiently in the fast-evolving EV market.

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 3. Strengthening Regional Economic Ties:

Canoo benefits from the broader economic impact of this grant on the MidAmerica region. The investment reinforces the area's position as a hub for EV manufacturing and technology. For Canoo, being part of a thriving industrial ecosystem fosters opportunities for partnerships, collaborations, and support from regional stakeholders, enhancing their operational and strategic capacities.

  4. Partnership and Collaboration Opportunities:

The workforce training program facilitates collaboration with educational institutions and other tech companies involved in EV technology. Canoo can build partnerships with these entities, further expanding its network and resources for innovation. This synergy is crucial for sharing knowledge and driving advancements in EV battery technology and manufacturing.

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5.Positive Community and Economic Impact:

The grant contributes to local economic development by creating jobs and boosting the community's economic health. Canoo’s role in this ecosystem positions it favorably in the community and among local governments, potentially opening doors to additional support and resources for its operations and future expansions.


Summary:

The grant helps Canoo by ensuring access to a skilled workforce, boosting its technological edge, enhancing regional economic strength, opening up collaborative opportunities, and reinforcing its community ties. These benefits collectively support Canoo's strategic goals in advancing its EV manufacturing capabilities and market position.

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