Offshore wind projects awarded $2 million to train workers

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Gov. Kathy Hochul this week announced $2.3 million in awards from the State’s Offshore Wind Training Institute to support new skills training programs and prepare hundreds of workers for skilled jobs. OWTI awards include:

New York City (NYC) Union Iron Workers Locals 40 and 361 (Iron Workers) – $1.06 million to train 115 union workers on the safety requirements and skills needed to construct offshore wind projects.

Funding will support the purchase of training equipment and licenses, and the training needed to certify five NYC Iron Workers as Global Wind Organisation (GWO) safety standards instructors. Instructors will then train 10 cohorts of 11 apprentices during the grant period. The program will be operated by the Iron Worker’s Joint Apprenticeship Committee (JAC).

“I’m profoundly proud of Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for recognizing the paramount importance of training our union members for offshore wind jobs,” New York State Iron Workers District Council vice-president Jim Mahoney said in a statement. “Welding and rigging skills are pivotal for the success of offshore wind and the entire clean energy transition.

“This funding commitment ensures that our members will have the essential training precisely when their expertise is needed the most.”

Capital Region BOCES will receive $1.25 million to train 90 workers across three programs – electrical, welding, and building trades – to address key workforce gaps identified in collaboration with offshore wind industry employers, including developers, supply chain companies and contracted laborers, in the Capital Region.

Training specific to the offshore wind industry will target adult learners from disadvantaged or environmental justice communities and priority populations including veterans, formerly incarcerated persons, single parents, and English Language Learners. BOCES will recruit adults who are underemployed and/or seeking career changes and help them overcome barriers to completing its job training program.

“New York continues to lead the nation in building a clean energy future,” Gov. Hochul said. “Through our investments in workforce development and New York’s renewable industry, we are creating momentum to accelerate renewable energy projects and ensure we have a workforce prepared to fill the jobs we need to reduce emissions and build a greener New York for all.”

Funding is part of New York’s 10-point action plan, announced recently. New York State is also putting workforce development, inclusion, and equity in the forefront of the state’s large scale renewables industry through entities such as the Offshore Wind Training Institute.

The OWTI is a partnership between the NYSERDA and the State University of New York (SUNY), which was launched in 2020, to advance offshore wind training programs and establish a skilled workforce that can support the emerging national offshore wind industry.

“If New York is going to successfully implement and execute its standard-setting renewable energy action plan, it will need to include strong labor standards, including project labor agreements, and a workforce development plan that prepares our tradesmen and tradeswomen to take advantage of the thousands of family-sustaining career opportunities that will be created by these projects,” said Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York president Gary LaBarbera. “Our tradesmen and tradeswomen look forward to meeting any training standards necessary so that they may contribute to these groundbreaking projects and pursue the paths to the middle class forged by them.”

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