My experience in the early days of the Internet provides a roadmap for capitalizing on major technology shifts in our society.
When the Internet was launched around the world 30 years ago and I was tasked to educate businesses and individuals on the potential of this technology, few minority businesses were interested. I would present a picture to minority businesses of the future economic opportunities afforded by the Internet. These projections were based on the changes in our future economic structure and how businesses could benefit from Internet technology. Many in the non-minority communities adopted the technology early making millions and some even made billions of dollars. The reason why I use the Internet’s growth as an example is because of the tremendous wealth our community could achieve with their early entry into the next technology growth area. Enter the Electric Vehicle Industry, as providers and not just consumers. More than 50% of all the vehicles on the road in less than ten years will be EV vehicles: Cars, Buses, Trucks, and recreational devices. Unlike the Internet, the growth is being supported by billions of dollars of public and private funding. The Federal Government has already budgeted billions of dollars to support the growth of this industry. While the automobile OEMs are projected to spend more than $75 billion to produce EV vehicles, this includes the U.S. and foreign manufacturers operating in the U.S. The expenditure for infrastructure modification and installations will cost billions of dollars and create enormous business and job opportunities.
If the Minority Business community had taken my advice and developed businesses around internet technology in the early days of its development, it would have provided substantial economic benefits. Yes, we have many minority businesses now taking advantage of Internet technology with digital marketing companies, music videos, and social media platforms. However, what if we had capitalized on the Internet at the beginning of evolution, we could have started companies like Meta, Google, Amazon, and others.
When I wrote my book, RACE FOR THE NET- When African Americans Controlled the Internet and What Happens Now? I wanted African Americans and other minority communities to understand, rather than capitalize on an opportunity in the late stage of its growth you are relegated to being a consumer and not a producer. Let’s not just talk about the technology but participate and bring wealth to our communities with the early adoption of opportunities in the EV Industry.
The EV Industry opportunity will surpass the growth of the Internet and will have a profound impact on all of our communities. The technology is being rolled out every day. We have already seen the growth in what Leon Musk has done in developing Tesla and the record sales of his electric vehicle.
The other benefit for our community today is promoting early opportunities for new and high-paying jobs. The EV industry has a major shortage of trained people who understand battery technology. Even EV car dealers require salespeople to be trained on voltage technology and the benefits of batteries.
In fact, the installation and servicing of Charging Stations will need trained technicians. Early projections show that we will need 1,000,000 charging stations over the next 10 years around the country to service 26 million electric vehicles. Most traditional gas stations will need to accommodate charging stations as well as malls, parking lots, and our communities. During the early days of the Internet, we feared the digital divide would limit access to our communities because of limited access to the Internet, creating information deserts. This can happen with the deployment of charging stations like the digital divide without EV Charging Stations, which will restrict electric vehicles from coming to our community to deliver products, public transportation, and emergency services.
Many experts believe that a substantial increase in training and education will be needed to fill this gap.
We need to create a training program and recruit young people who will assist in reducing the high unemployment in our communities. Our HBCU community needs to institute training programs that can address job shortages at all levels in the EV Industry, as mentioned earlier.
Local community organizations need to establish training programs to fill these thousands of future jobs. There are several minority businesses that already project the future need for trained workers and have established programs in their communities to satisfy this demand today and in the future. There is a newly established Minority Business Association located in Detroit that has jumped on the EV bandwagon today. This organization is called BEVI (Black in Electric Vehicle Infrastructure).
As mentioned in my book, RACE FOR THE NET other countries around the world are already implementing training programs to provide job opportunities to service the EV industry. The U.S. is falling behind in creating job and training programs to take advantage of this growth industry.
We need to start now with a plan to embrace the future opportunities in the EV industry and not only as consumers but the producers and service providers.