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Massachusetts Institutions Get Grants for Offshore Wind Workforce Training

July 24, 2020

Image by dragancfm/AdobeStock

Image by dragancfm/AdobeStock

Massachusetts' Baker-Polito administration has this week announced $1.3 million in grants to nine Massachusetts institutions and organizations to establish or expand workforce training and development programs that support the state’s emerging offshore wind industry. 

The awards include a $100,000 commitment from Vineyard Wind’s Windward Workforce Fund and a $100,000 commitment from Mayflower Wind’s Offshore Wind Development Fund, and collectively, the grants leverage an estimated cost-share from awardees of approximately $950,000. 

The programs will be led by institutions located in Taunton, Bourne, Martha’s Vineyard, Lowell, New Bedford, Boston, North Dartmouth, Burlington, and Gloucester, and will serve workers throughout Massachusetts, the administration said.

“Massachusetts is a national leader in the responsible development of the emerging offshore wind industry,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With offshore wind farm construction and installation poised to begin off the Massachusetts coast in the coming years, these grants will leverage the Commonwealth’s workforce strengths and foster critical training and educational programs that establish career pathways into this new industry.”

Massachusetts state law seeks to have 3,200 MW of offshore wind providing electricity to the Commonwealth by 2035, which could represent over 20% of electricity consumed in the state.

“Expanding training and educational programs for the offshore wind industry will pave the way for the Commonwealth’s talented local workforce to take advantage of rewarding new job opportunities in clean energy,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We are pleased to partner with Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind to support the offshore wind industry, our local colleges, the commercial fishing community, workforce development organizations, and organized labor as they seek to help Massachusetts workers participate in this fast-growing industry.”

The new grants follow Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s (MassCEC) first slate of offshore wind workforce grants, awarded in 2019.

Workers trained through these projects will gain skills and expertise to support the planning, construction, and operation of offshore wind projects throughout the region including the Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind projects, two 800 megawatt (MW) projects.

The nine new workforce development programs will support health, safety, and technical training programs; offshore wind vocational education; programs that help members of organized labor unions and commercial fishing interested in offshore wind jobs develop the needed skills; and the build-out of higher education pathways for students interested offshore wind.

“Offshore wind remains an integral part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s strategy to achieve net zero emissions and supports the Commonwealth’s vision for a clean, reliable, and resilient electric grid,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These grants, which build key partnerships between the offshore wind industry and local training and educational providers, will help the Commonwealth continue to build a world-class offshore wind workforce.”

The institutions and organizations receiving funding are:

Adult Continuing Education – Martha’s Vineyard (ACE MV):  $128,140 to further support an Offshore Wind Technician Certificate program on Martha’s Vineyard, encourage high school dual enrollment in this Certificate program, and explore options for incorporating marine science and technology programming into Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s Career and Technical Education Program.  

A.I.S., Inc. (AIS):  $21,300 to expand their existing Protected Species Observer training program to include an on-the-water training component, while also developing a new training that improves offshore wind Operations and Maintenance professionals’ understanding of regional protected species.

Bristol Community College (BCC):  $125,125 to expand essential training and health certification programs at the college’s National Offshore Wind Institute in New Bedford, conduct a feasibility study to understand the need and interest for additional safety and technical training programs, and develop a Basics of Offshore Wind program with the goal of helping Massachusetts businesses and individuals better understand where their existing skills and expertise can fit when it comes to supporting this new industry.

Fishing Partnership Support Services (FPSS):  $49,562 to work with the Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island and the University of Rhode Island Fisheries Center to develop industry-standardized professional requirements for the safety and inspection of vessels for use in the offshore wind industry, which will allow interested fishermen to upskill and retrain for important offshore wind job opportunities that can augment their fishing incomes.
Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Development Program (GFWDP):  $297,417 to work with the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership and the Northeast Maritime Institute to recruit and pre-qualify commercial fishermen for enrollment in dedicated training and certification programs at the Northeast Maritime Institute.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union #223:  $300,000 to establish a high voltage and fiber optic training program for skilled electricians at the IBEW’s training facility in Taunton, in partnership with JDR Cables, a cable supplier for the Vineyard Wind 1 project.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA):  $75,000 to conduct a feasibility study to understand the need, interest, and business case for developing and delivering a crew transfer vessel operator training program, specialized helicopter transfer training, and Global Wind Organisation (GWO) Advanced Rescue Training.  

University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UML):  $244,457 to build on existing offshore wind workforce research and analyze the local labor market and current university-level educational offerings, and then develop educational content and associated credentialing to fill existing gaps.

VINCIVR, Inc.:  $124,670 to certify two Global Wind Organisation (GWO) courses (Basic Technical Training-Installation and Slinger Signaler) using virtual reality simulations in partnership with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, an offshore wind turbine manufacturer.

Watch the recording of World Energy Report's Offshore Wind Webinar "Outlook for Offshore Wind Power: The Frontier of Future Energy."

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