Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., Congressman Bill Keating, D-Mass., and Congressman Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., recently introduced the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, legislation designed to educate and train offshore wind workers.
According to the lawmakers, the new federal grant program created by this legislation would assist colleges and universities, state and local governments, unions, and nonprofits with developing curricula, internships, health and safety programs, and other activities – deemed appropriate by the secretaries of energy, labor, interior and education – to develop 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.
“We need to focus our efforts on clean power instead of dirty fossil fuels, and that’s what this bill does,” says Grijalva, ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee. “The American people already want renewable energy and don’t trust Big Oil to do the right thing for the environment. Wind power is a huge part of building the cleaner, more sustainable economy we all deserve, and it can play an even bigger role with the right support.”
“This bill will help launch a new generation of American job seekers into highly skilled careers,” notes Nancy Sopko, director of offshore wind at the American Wind Energy Association. “We can repeat the success of the land-based wind industry, now supporting more than 100,000 American jobs, by ensuring the U.S. workforce stands ready to harness this new ocean energy resource.”
Massachusetts Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco, D-Taunton, founding chair of the Massachusetts State Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, adds, “We must educate, train and prepare our workforce for a true clean energy future. Offshore wind is a multibillion-dollar industry right within our grasp, one that will bolster our economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. As a legislator in the coastal state of Massachusetts, I understand the benefits that offshore wind provides for my state and, indeed, the rest of the country. Our workforce must be prepared to meet the needs of this supply chain.”