A bipartisan group of US Senators has introduced legislation to create a grant program for offshore wind educational and career training.
The legislation, the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, would direct the Energy Department to work with stakeholders to identify the offshore wind industry’s educational and career training needs before setting up a grant program to address those needs.
The grants could be used for a variety of activities, including current worker training, training in conjunction with an apprenticeship, individual tuition assistance for a postsecondary credential, or other activities to address the workforce needs of the offshore wind industry.
Grant applicants that are serving veterans, dislocated workers, or people with various barriers to employment would be prioritized under this legislation.
The grant program would be authorized at USD 25 million a year from fiscal year 2020 through 2024.
The legislation was introduced by Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
Congressman William Keating (MA-09) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
The Energy Department found that the United States could install a total of 22GW of offshore wind projects by 2030 and 86GW by 2050, creating tens of thousands of jobs in coastal communities along the Atlantic Coast.
“America’s energy workers are second to none, and over the next decade we’ll need to fill tens of thousands of new jobs to manufacture, build and operate the first large-scale U.S. offshore wind projects,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
“The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act would make a smart investment in the American workforce, essential to realize offshore wind’s nearly $70 billion revenue opportunity for American supply chain businesses and arming U.S. workers with the skills needed to succeed in rewarding offshore wind careers.”