U.S. Secretary of Labor visits Wauwatosa, touting EV charger grant


WAUWATOSA, Wis. — The Biden Administration announced an investment of more than $46M to support the development of chargers for electric vehicles across the country. A nationwide transition from gas-powered vehicles to electric is a focus of Joe Biden’s Presidency, with a goal of 500,000 public EV charging ports by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Leaders of Milwaukee-area government and labor gathered at the Milwaukee Electric Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) building in Wauwatosa to discuss the benefits that the investment could bring to the area. Mike Bruning is the Assistant Business Manager of IBEW Local 2150 and says EV production is steadily finding its way to the Ingeteam Inc. Plant in Milwaukee.

“They currently build wind turbine generators, and are now transitioning to build EV chargers for the whole country,” Bruning said.

Representatives from WRTP | BIG STEP, an organization that brings young people to the trades, and the group EmpowHER, which encourages women to enter construction jobs, began the event by discussing how increasing trade jobs in Milwaukee will help both those already in the field and the greater community.

Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su took the podium in Wauwatosa next, speaking about this grant among many investments from the White House.

“The Biden/Harris Administration is investing, all across America, in new roads and bridges, clean air and drinking water, in high-speed reliable internet, and in electrical vehicle charging stations,” Secretary Su said. “But also, in making good jobs to every community across the country… it’s the roads and bridges that connect people to the jobs they want and need, and employers to the people that they want and need.”

Following Secretary Su, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley addressed the crowd, stating that a reduction in carbon emissions will also help racial disparities.

“Climate change disproportionately affects communities of color, and climate-related health issues are exacerbated by existing racial disparities,” Executive Crowley explained. “That’s why tools to fight climate change, such as an increase in electric vehicles, play a major role in eliminating disparities and creating a healthy Milwaukee.”

Studies from the National Library of Medicine and Princeton University concur with the statements made by County Executive Crowley on the existence of a connection between climate change and racial disparity.

While many attendees were excited about the future of electric vehicles in Wisconsin, that feeling was not unanimous. Jim Meyer, Business Manager of Local IBEW 2150, thinks the transition toward electric vehicles has gone well so far, but there is still a long way to go:

“I think the charging time on the cars are not where they need to be yet for people, like myself, that travel all over Wisconsin. I can’t have an electric vehicle and effectively make it across everywhere I need to be in one day. I’m looking forward to having charging stations that allow me to do that.”


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