Training an offshore wind workforce
NEW BEDFORD -- Vineyard Wind is partnering with regional colleges to help train a new, offshore wind workforce on the Cape and Islands.
Stephen Pike, executive director and CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), on May 10 announced the Baker-Polito Administration’s award of $721, 500 in educational seed money. That’s in addition to $2 million that the Vineyard Wind contract committed to workforce development and public safety.
“The offshore wind industry is poised to create new renewable energy jobs, and these programs represent an important development as the Commonwealth readies for the first large-scale project in the nation,” Pike said. “With Massachusetts’ proud maritime heritage, robust innovation economy and academic and training assets, the state is very well-positioned to grow a workforce that will contribute to this new American industry for years to come.”
Funding recipients include:
Bristol Community College (BCC) – $200,000 to establish basic safety training (BST) and basic technical training (BTT) to Global Wind Organization (GWO) standards at its campus in New Bedford.
Cape Cod Community College – $66,570 to develop and deliver a suite of courses to introduce students and workers to careers in offshore wind.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) – $184,000 to establish all five modules of GWO basic safety training at its campus and develop an “introduction to offshore wind” course for MMA cadets. A crew transfer training facility, supported by MassCEC, will be operational in Summer 2019.
UMass Amherst – $105, 500 to complete initial design and develop most of an offshore wind professional certificate program to be offered at the Mt. Ida campus in Newton.
Pile Drivers and Divers Local 56 – $100,000 to sponsor trade union members for GWO basic safety training at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
Adult Continuing Education – Martha’s Vineyard (ACE MV) – $65,000 to partner with BCC and MMA to provide on-island courses and training that supports basic safety and technical certification, as well as offshore wind technician certificates.
In April 2018, MassCEC released a report on the workforce needs and economic impact of the emerging offshore wind industry, finding that the deployment of 1,600 MW of offshore wind is estimated to support between 2,300 and 3,100 direct job years over the next 10 years and generate a total economic impact in Massachusetts of between $678 to $805 million.
“The offshore wind industry is poised to create new renewable energy jobs, and these programs represent an important development as the Commonwealth readies for the first large-scale project in the nation,” said Massachusetts Clean Energy Commission CEO Stephen Pike. “With Massachusetts’ proud maritime heritage, robust innovation economy and academic and training assets, the state is very well-positioned to grow a workforce that will contribute to this new American industry for years to come.”
The investments will help ensure that the Commonwealth’s thriving green economy has access to workers with the skills and training necessary to facilitate growth in this high-demand job sector, said Rosalin Acosta, Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development Secretary. “That’s good for the environment and good for the health of the Massachusetts economy.”
Constructed and operated by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal is a 29-acre heavy-lift facility designed to support the construction, assembly, and deployment of offshore wind projects, as well as handle bulk, break-bulk, container, and large specialty marine cargo.
The first port in North America specifically built to support the staging and deployment of offshore wind components, the terminal has been engineered to sustain mobile crane and storage loads that rival the highest capacity ports in the world.
In October 2018, MassCEC and Vineyard Wind agreed to an 18-month lease to use the terminal as the primary staging and deployment location for its offshore wind project.
This funding builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to support the Commonwealth’s vibrant clean energy industry, including recently securing 9,450,000MWh of hydroelectric energy and 800MW of offshore wind energy, the largest procurement in offshore wind by any state in the country.
“Vineyard Wind is proud to support this significant next step forward in preparing Massachusetts workers for construction of the nation’s first commercial scale offshore wind farm,” said Erich Stephens, Vineyard Wind Chief Development Officer. “The programs announced today provide a strong foundation to our commitment that every Massachusetts’ resident will have a meaningful opportunity to access careers in the Commonwealth’s newest industry, offshore wind.”
“Our existing maritime workforce is a strong competitive advantage for offshore wind companies choosing to locate here, and to maintain that competitive advantage we must ensure the workforce has the opportunity to build on its existing maritime skills to meet the needs of the emerging offshore wind industry,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. “That is why investments in our local training infrastructure, particularly at Bristol Community College, are so important to our long-run success.”
Said State Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), “Offshore wind represents a key component of our state’s clean energy future. I applaud the Baker-Polito Administration for recognizing that a well-trained workforce will be the backbone of this emerging industry, and for taking action to foster it.”
State Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) said the Bristol Community College grant would be used to train students for necessary positions in the emerging offshore wind industry, positioning New Bedford for a major economic boom.
“Today’s grant awards are a clear indication that Vineyard Wind is following through on its promise to be a responsible partner to our community,” said State Sen. Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “By working together with the Commonwealth to provide workforce training that will create good-paying, year-round, high-skilled jobs on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, the economic benefit of Vineyard Wind’s investment in the new off-shore wind industry is an important piece of economic development that will strengthen our local economy for the foreseeable future.”
State Rep. Antonio F. D. Cabral (D-New Bedford), said the grants would have a generational impact on New Bedford, Cape Cod, and the Islands.