According to the Global Wind Organisation’s (GWO) forecast for the US East Coast, over 25,000 people will require entry-level standard training to work on offshore wind turbines over the next five years.
With 9.1 GW of offshore wind planned to be installed by 2025, the training is necessary for jobs in the construction, installation, operation, and maintenance segments of the wind power value chain. Jobs in procurement, manufacturing and transport are not covered with this plan, according to GWO.
”The United States’ offshore wind pipeline includes several projects entering next stage development and 9.1GW by 2025. Many training providers have already responded to demand by certifying to GWO standards, but investment must pre-empt development and be ready to deliver as soon as foundations begin to be placed in our waters,” explained Dan Ortega, North America Representative at GWO.
A pipeline of almost 100 community colleges, maritime academies, and universities from across North America are actively seeking certification to provide these wind industry-recognised GWO standards.
”Together, these institutions will help deliver safety on the job, reduce duplication in training and improve the productivity of tens of thousands of people working on wind turbines offshore in the US,” said Dan Ortega of GWO.
Meanwhile, new partnerships focused on developing a skilled offshore wind workforce pool in the US have been established recently.
One of the latest partnerships in this area is that between Crowley Maritime Corporation and Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA), which will jointly create a training and workforce development programme dedicated to the New England region’s offshore wind energy industry. The training will be GWO certified and coordinated with Relyon Nutec.
Crowley also said that it would continue to provide scholarships, internships and hands-on learning for MMA cadets, including those at sea and the recently created Maritime Center for Responsible Energy (MCRE) on the academy’s campus in Buzzards Bay, Massachusets.
This partnership will also go beyond training and direct resources to create outreach programmes and workforce development for underrepresented population groups, specifically in Massachusetts Gateway Cities that are rebuilding urban areas with unrealised potential and past industrial bases, Crowley said.
Attracting underrepresented populations to the offshore wind industry in Massachusetts is also the focus of a newly established partnership between Xodus and the voluntary coalition Browning the Green Space (BGS), whose programme received the financial support of USD 140,000 (approximately EUR 119, 084) from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
The programme, which is tailored to different age groups and levels of involvement, will provide insight into career opportunities that the US offshore wind industry can offer. High schools and community colleges in disadvantaged areas will be targeted through a community and education engagement campaign, delivering an overview of the offshore wind industry.
Further to that, two distinct paid work experience routes of varying timescales will provide opportunities for potential jobs in the industry through internships lasting for ten weeks and pre-apprenticeships lasting for six months.
”This program can help show that this new sector is fairer for everyone across the country. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to get this right and show the offshore wind sector as an example in delivering good-paying, high-quality jobs for those who have often been underrepresented across the country,” said Hillary Bright, US vice president for renewables at Xodus.