SUNY, NYSERDA Launch OWTI to Develop Offshore Wind Workforce

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The State University of New York (SUNY) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) have launched New York’s Offshore Wind Training Institute (OWTI) to train 2,500 workers as part of the largest public investment in offshore wind workforce development by any state in the U.S. 

Through a partnership between SUNY’s Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook University on Long Island, the $20 million investment in the state’s new training institute will advance offshore wind training programs and educational infrastructure needed to establish a skilled workforce that can support the emerging national offshore wind industry. The recent announcement was included in Gov. Cuomo’s 2021 State of the State and supports New York’s goal of developing 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035 as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“SUNY is proud to partner with NYSERDA to launch New York’s OWTI, a crucial component of Cuomo’s plan to expand New York’s offshore wind and renewable energy industries,” says Jim Malatras, chancellor of SUNY. “As we rebuild the post-COVID economy, we must focus on up-and-coming industries that are primed for growth. I want to thank Stony Brook University and Farmingdale State College for lending their top of the line facilities and the expertise of their faculty to this important effort. With their help and Cuomo’s leadership, we will train thousands of workers annually for high-paying green energy jobs and play a critical role in New York’s economic recovery.”

New York recently issued the first solicitation by the 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. Selected training institutions will aim to begin training workers shortly after the awards which are expected in the summer of 2021.

Future solicitations over the next four years will be informed by sector research and include 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 closely 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. To maximize benefits to New York’s workforce, the OWTI and the NOWTC are establishing comprehensive offshore wind training in New York. The OWTI will also work in close collaboration with Equinor’s workforce development and training initiatives in key regions across the state.

The recent announcement complements the two historic offshore wind awards totaling nearly 2,500 MW – the largest offshore wind procurement in the nation’s history. These projects will be a major economic driver, supporting more than 5,200 direct jobs with a combined economic activity of $8.9 billion in labor, supplies, development and manufacturing statewide. The $20 million OWTI reflects significant and coordinated public and private partnerships to advance New York’s pursuit of offshore wind and will educate the clean energy workforce of the future to build the state’s growing pipeline of projects and support the industry regionally.

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