Workforce Training moves to virtual reality for offshore wind jobs
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito visited Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School for a virtual reality offshore wind training demonstration.
Seth Chitwood, Standard Times
NEW BEDFORD – Governor Charlie Baker wants Massachusetts to keep the offshore wind industry on a relatively fast track by moving as quickly as possible to develop the physical infrastructure and create the skilled workforce needed to lead the way as other East Coast states aim to lead the way.
Thursday morning at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Beth Card joined local officials to announce the launch of the Investment Challenge in offshore wind industry ports.
Local businesses are invited to submit a request for proposals for the $50 million allocated by the new Offshore Wind Investment Fund for eligible seaport redevelopment and improvement projects, with applications expected by 29 July and the prices announced this fall.
“Massachusetts is well positioned to be a major player, not only in solving many of our own clean energy goals going forward, but in being a provider and supporter for others throughout the process of construction and profit. of this booming industry here on the East Coast,” he said. “New Bedford, in many ways, is going to end up being what I consider to be ground zero as far as a lot of this activity is concerned.”
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Massachusetts Clean Energy Center CEO Jen Daloisio said she was thrilled to launch the Offshore Wind Port Investment Challenge at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, the first of its kind in the United States, in recognition of the need to invest in infrastructure.
“We are delighted to see our historic port communities reinvigorated,” she said. “Along with public and private partnerships and investments, we can make improvements to port facilities and actively use them for this new industry. This will create significant jobs and economic activity in local communities.
She said MassCEC can ensure through its workforce development programs that these opportunities will be equitable and accessible to all diverse populations in the state.
With contracts going out in October or November, Daloisio said Vineyard Wind will be able to begin operations at the New Bedford Marine Trade Terminal in January and Mayflower Wind will follow on its heels to set up its part of the development.
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Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card said investments also need to be made in other Massachusetts ports to support the offshore wind industry.
“This $50 million we’re making available today will also help leverage additional private and local in-kind contributions to New Bedford, so we’re working as a team, and we really look forward to those partnerships, but that’s also part of of a bigger plan,” she said.
She said funding opportunities are also available through the Future Opportunities for Resiliency, Workforce and Revitalized Downtowns (Forward) Act, an economic development bill that includes $1.3 billion in funding for environmental infrastructure and energy, including $150 million to support renewable energy in Massachusetts through research. , innovation and workforce training.
Baker also offered $100 million in additional funding to invest in the state’s ports to help meet the state’s decarbonization goals, including reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and becoming more resilient to change. climate with offshore wind power as the centerpiece.
Mayor Jon Mitchell said he read a report that there are about 19 ports between Massachusetts and South Carolina that will have offshore wind activity over the next five years, so there is competition.
“Legislation that is currently pending is key to staying ahead of the competition,” he said. “The offshore wind business is coming. He’s going to settle down somewhere. We want him to settle here.
Sen. Michael Barrett, D-Lexington, and Rep. Antonio Cabral, D-New Bedford, agreed there was competition and Massachusetts should continue to lead the way.
Baker, Polito, Card and Daloisio also visited UMass Dartmouth to meet Chancellor Mark Fuller for the presentation of the Offshore Wind Works Awards highlighting the administration’s efforts to create an energy workforce. own. A total of $3.8 million in grants was awarded to nine Massachusetts organizations.
Standard-Times editor Kathryn Gallerani can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @kgallreporter. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.