U.S. representatives are re-introducing the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, legislation to educate and train a new generation of American offshore wind workers. Specifically, Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ) has joined Congressmen Bill Keating (D-MA), Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), and A. Donald McEachin (D-VA) are supporting the Act.
The federal grant program created by this legislation will assist colleges and universities, state and local governments, unions, and non-profits develop curricula, internships, health and safety programs, and other activities deemed appropriate by the Secretaries of Energy, Labor, Interior, and Education to advance an offshore wind workforce.
The bill prioritizes grants to community colleges, organizations that service minority populations, and those helping workers from other industries transition to the offshore wind industry.
“Investing in America’s energy infrastructure is vital to our country’s growth and, as we move forward, we must focus on sustainability, follow sound science and add high-wage jobs in the energy sector,”said Congressman Norcross.”In my home state of New Jersey, we’re already investing in offshore wind to power our economy. These projects will create jobs and clean energy for our region and country. Importantly, as we build new clean-energy sources for our future, we must also build the workforce that supports them.”
“At a moment in our history when we are at a true crossroads with climate change and the need for clean energy, we are proud in Southeastern Massachusetts to be developing one of the first off-shore wind energy sites in the country,” said Congressman Keating. “The jobs created here will coexist with our traditional economy, benefit new industries, and improve many communities while protecting our environment in a responsible way. There are plenty of hard-working Americans who are ready, willing, and able to train in the wind industry, which has a proven track record of creating long-term, high-paying jobs. This legislation will help us meet our goal of ensuring that we have a well-trained, local workforce ready on day one.”
The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act is also endorsed by a number of national offshore wind energy experts, including the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the BlueGreen Alliance, and others.
“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 of 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.”
Mike Williams, Co-Interim Executive Director, BlueGreen Alliance, added: “The offshore wind industry holds great potential for creating quality, family-sustaining jobs while producing clean, renewable energy. As more wind farms spring up off America’s coasts, demand for the highly skilled workers needed to complete these innovative projects will grow as well. The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act will play a significant role in providing the skills needed for workers to break into this growing field.”