NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Eight Rivian employees have upped their skills in repairing the electric vehicles they work on thanks to a partnership with Heartland Community College.

Monday night, the inaugural class of Rivian apprentices graduated from HCC’s technical trades program. The program is designed for Rivian employees and upscaling them into high-demand jobs.

Employees who qualified for the program studied for their EV Energy Storage Certificate, EV Maintenance and Light Repair Certificate, and High Voltage Battery Technology Micro-Certificate in Heartland’s EV Training program while still working at the automotive company.

Upon completion of the program, students have the skills and qualifications to become entry-level technicians at Rivian.

“With an electric vehicle. there’s a lot of systems that are similar to an internal-combustion vehicle such as brakes and suspension, but then there’s also the things that deviate from that so the battery packs and all the propulsion systems,” said electric vehicles instructor, Mike Deavers.

Workers with three months to three years of experience were chosen by Rivian for the program. Some students will work in Normal, while others will continue their employment at Rivian in other parts of the country.