MA Maritime Academy Launches Offshore Wind Training Facility

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Massachusetts Maritime Academy has launched a “first in the nation” offshore wind crew transfer training facility.

The training facility, which received a total of $1.73 million from the state’s Baker-Polito administration and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), will provide education, training and certification to thousands of residents, including Mass Maritime cadets, as well as skilled labor, including electricians, pile drivers, divers and welders, enabling them to work in the emerging offshore wind industry. The training vessel was christened last Thursday as part of the second-annual Massachusetts STEM Week.

“As Massachusetts heads toward building the first large-scale offshore wind project in the nation, we are pleased that Massachusetts Maritime Academy will be home to this first-in-the-nation training facility,” says Gov. Charlie Baker, R-Mass. “With important training infrastructure like this crew transfer facility, thousands of students and trade workers will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to be a part of the growing sector of Massachusetts’ nation-leading clean energy industry and can take advantage of the highly skilled jobs created by this emerging industry.”

“Offshore wind is a crucial part of our administration’s climate strategy, and it is vital that we have a skilled workforce ready for jobs that will bring new opportunities to many residents in the commonwealth,” adds Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, R-Mass. “We are grateful to Massachusetts Maritime Academy for their partnership in its development of this training facility and its continued collaboration to ensure Massachusetts workers have the necessary certifications, credentials and safety training to build these projects and lead us to a clean energy future.”

The project is a partnership between Mass Maritime, state government and industry, including Vineyard Wind.

“Vineyard Wind is excited to partner with the Baker-Polito administration, Mass Maritime and other academic institutions to invest in workforce training and safety programs that will be crucial to a successful U.S. offshore wind industry,” says Vineyard Wind’s CEO, Lars Thaaning Pedersen. “We look forward to Mass Maritime’s first-in-the nation training facility serving as a catalyst for developing an American-led workforce equipped with the skills to lead offshore wind projects up and down the East Coast for years to come.”

MassCEC awarded Mass Martime an initial $50,000 grant for a feasibility study related to the construction of the facility, followed by a $500,000 grant in 2017 to support the construction of the crew transfer training facility and vessel. In May, through MassCEC’s Offshore Wind Workforce program, Mass Maritime received $184,000 to establish all five modules of the Global Wind Organization’s (GWO) basic safety training and to develop an “Introduction to Offshore Wind” course for Mass Maritime students. Mass Maritime also received a $1 million grant from the Seaport Economic Council in 2017 to support the construction of the facility’s pier.

Initially, Mass Maritime will focus on basic safety training for the offshore wind industry with a course comprising five modules: first aid, manual handling, fire awareness, working at heights and sea survival. Some of the training will take place in the academy’s newly constructed indoor climbing facility and on the new crew transfer training facility, located on Mass Maritime’s pier in Buzzard’s Bay. Instructors will teach students how to safely transfer from the vessel to an offshore wind turbine. Mass Maritime partnered with Relyon Nutec to help train instructors to deliver these courses using the GWO-approved curriculum.

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