New York Launches Largest Public Investment in Wind Workforce Training

New York launches wind training initiative
(file photo)

Published Jan 13, 2021 8:10 PM by The Maritime Executive

The state of New York announced a new training initiative to develop a workforce for the renewable energy industry which it says is part of the largest public investment in offshore wind workforce development by any state in the U.S. In its first phase, New York’s Offshore Wind Training Institute (OWTI) will train 2,500 workers designed to support the state’s goal of developing 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.

Through a partnership between the State University of New York’s (SUNY) Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook University on Long Island, the $20 million investment in training will advance offshore wind training programs and the educational infrastructure needed to establish a skilled workforce that can support the emerging national offshore wind industry in New York and elsewhere in the U.S. 

“SUNY is proud to partner with NYSERDA to launch New York State’s Offshore Wind Training Institute, a crucial component of Governor Cuomo’s plan to expand New York’s offshore wind and renewable energy industries,” said State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras. “As we rebuild the post-COVID economy, we must focus on up-and-coming industries that are primed for growth.”

New York today issued the first solicitation by the Offshore Wind Training Institute (OWTI) to develop the workforce needed to build its offshore wind projects and support the offshore wind industry. Through this solicitation, $3 million is being made available to support educational and training organizations focusing on early training and skills development, including pre-apprenticeship training, for disadvantaged communities and workforce training initiatives that build partnerships between businesses, labor, workforce development, and training institutions to support local supply chains and manufacturing in New York State.

OWTI is administered by Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook University in partnership with NYSERDA. They expect that selected institutions will begin training workers shortly after the awards, which are expected in the summer of 2021, and will certify and train 2,500 New York workers for both offshore and onshore renewable energy projects. Additional solicitations will take place over the next four years including competitive grant and program opportunities for New York-based public and private colleges, community colleges, independent training institutions, nonprofits, and labor organizations to serve as OWTI training and academic partners.

The OWTI will also collaborate with the newly established National Offshore Wind Training Center (NOWTC), for which Suffolk County Community College serves as the academic anchor arm through a $10 million partnership with the Sunrise Wind Project (a joint venture of Ørsted A/S and Eversource Energy). The OWTI will also work in collaboration with Equinor’s workforce development and training initiatives in key regions across the state.

“Governor Cuomo has taken the necessary actions to position New York as a national hub for the U.S. offshore wind industry, serving as a catalyst to attract significant private investments in the state and create thousands of well-paying jobs,” said Doreen Harris, Acting President and CEO, NYSERDA. “We are excited to partner with SUNY on this initiative, which will deliver opportunities across the state to prepare and train New Yorkers to work on the state’s first and future offshore wind projects as well as to provide a pipeline of talent for other offshore wind projects in the U.S.”

The training program complements two offshore wind awards totaling nearly 2,500 megawatts that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in the Governor’s 2021 State of the State address.