Massachusetts Backs Offshore Wind Training with USD 1.6 Million

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has announced USD 1.6 million (around EUR 1.4 million) in grant funding to eight Massachusetts organisations to support offshore wind workforce training and reducing barriers to job entry within the emerging offshore wind industry.

The funding is being awarded through the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) Expanding Access to Opportunity in the Offshore Wind Workforce Program.

The aim for the state is to support the development of equitable, accessible offshore wind workforce training programs led by organisations located in Amherst, Boston, Fall River, Falmouth, Lowell, Martha’s Vineyard, New Bedford, and Taunton.

“Our plan to invest $100 million in critical port infrastructure through our ARPA spending proposal, along with these vital workforce training programs, will help unlock significant economic opportunities associated with offshore wind development and ensure that everyone in the Commonwealth can benefit from the potential jobs created in the years to come”, said Governor Charlie Baker.

The eight organisations receiving funding span a range of approaches and partnerships to expand access to existing programs, educate groups and individuals about opportunities, and begin building pathways to enter and advance through the emerging offshore wind industry’s workforce, MassCEC said.

The organisations are: Asian American Civic Association, Adult Continuing Education, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology and UMass Lowell, Bristol Community College and Old Bedford Village, Building Pathways, Self-Reliance, UMass Amherst Clean Energy Extension, and Xodus Group and Browning the Green Space.

“In order to achieve its ambitious target of Net Zero emissions by 2050, Massachusetts will need to build a vibrant, diverse, and skilled workforce to build the clean energy system of the future”, said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These grants support key partnerships for local training programs that are focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion and helping all people across the Commonwealth find a pathway to opportunity in offshore wind”.

MassCEC’s report on the workforce needs and economic impact of the emerging offshore wind industry from 2018 found 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 ten years and generate a total economic impact in Massachusetts of between USD 678 to USD 805 million.

The Center has committed USD 2.2 million in grants to support new or expanded offshore wind workforce training and educational programs in the Commonwealth at twelve institutions, organisations, and companies in 2019 and 2020.

Offshore wind developers Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind have pledged to provide funding for a portion of these prior grants once their projects achieve critical development milestones, MassCEC said.

The state is home to the first US large-scale offshore wind farm, the 800 MW Vineyard Wind 1. The 804 MW Mayflower Wind project off the state’s coast is also progressing with subsea surveys there currently underway.

Just a few days ago, Vineyard Wind signed a project labour agreement (PLA) with the Southeastern Massachusetts Building Trades Council for the 800 MW Vineyard Wind 1 offshore wind farm, the first PLA signed for offshore wind in the US. The agreement will see some 500 union jobs created on the project that recently got the federal green light to start construction.

Photo: Ørsted/Illustration