$2.3 Million Awarded Through State’s Offshore Wind Training Institute to Prepare Workers for Job Opportunities in Offshore Wind Industry

October 26, 2023

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the first step for expedited offshore wind and land-based renewable energy solicitations as part of New York’s 10-Point Action Plan to expand its thriving large-scale renewable industry. To further bolster the growing offshore wind industry, the Governor also announced $2.3 million in awards from the State’s Offshore Wind Training Institute (OWTI) to support new skills training programs and prepare hundreds of workers for skilled jobs. Together, these announcements support New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals of sourcing 70 percent of New York’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and developing 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.

“New York continues to lead the nation in building a clean energy future,” Governor 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.”

Today’s announcement represents the next set of actions taken by the State as part of New York’s 10-Point Action Plan, announced recently by Governor Hochul, offering insight into how the Governor’s Administration plans to overcome recent inflationary and other macroeconomic challenges that have impacted the large-scale renewable energy sector.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is issuing two Requests for Information (RFI), one for offshore wind and one for land-based renewables. The purpose of these RFIs is to invite industry stakeholders to review and comment on the potential structure and relative merits of expedited solicitations for Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificates (ORECs) and Renewable Energy Standard Tier 1 Certificates (RECs). The deadline to provide feedback to the RFIs is Thursday, November 2 for the Offshore Wind RFI, and Friday, November 3 for the Tier 1 Land-Based Renewables RFI.

The information gathered from the RFIs will inform next steps to launch accelerated land-based and offshore wind procurements. NYSERDA’s regular cadence of solicitations for both programs is expected to follow in 2024.

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “As New York continues to invest in renewable energy, we have a need for skilled workers who can help make our ambitious climate goals a reality. We also need a strong multi-year pipeline of renewable energy projects that will provide clean energy and in turn reduce the harmful emissions threatening our communities and natural resources. Together, these significant commitments to building New York’s green economy underscores the State’s unequaled drive to achieving its climate goals.”

New York Makes an Investment in the Offshore Wind Workforce
As part of the 10-Point Action Plan, 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 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.

The $2.3 million in OWTI awards include:

  • The New York City (NYC) Union Iron Workers Locals 40 and 361 (Iron Workers) - $1.06 million: Will 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. Those five certified instructors will then train approximately 10 cohorts of 11 apprentices during this grant period. The Iron Workers will formally integrate these new GWO trainings with existing continuing education, apprenticeship training, and pre-apprenticeship offerings. The program will be operated by the Iron Worker’s Joint Apprenticeship Committee (JAC).
  • Capital Region BOCES - $1.25 million: Will 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. Technical trainings 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.

These awards are in addition to previously funded training programs supported by the Offshore Wind Training Institute. Through the first round, funding was awarded to Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY and LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY to support early training and skills development for disadvantaged communities and priority populations. An additional $4 million in OWTI grants were awarded Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. in May 2023 to SUNY campus-led programs designed to expand workforce development and training initiatives for jobs in constructing, manufacturing, installing, operating and maintaining offshore wind farms.

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said, "As New York State works to achieve Governor Kathy Hochul's ambitious climate goals, SUNY is training the workers who will power New York toward a more sustainable, clean energy future. This latest round of awards from the Offshore Wind Training Institute builds on our efforts to ensure workers are properly trained in needed skills, while building interest among younger students in entering this highly skilled, well-paying field."

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Governor Hochul is building upon this week’s significant renewable energy commitments to ensure the industry and the state’s workforce are prepared for the green job growth that will help reach our climate action objectives. New York’s just transition to a greener economy is fully underway and today’s announcements will continue supporting opportunities and benefits for all New Yorkers, especially for those who bear the brunt of a legacy of fossil fuel pollution, for a healthier, more prosperous future.” 

Assemblymember Didi Barrett said, “Having a trained and ready workforce to ensure a smooth green energy transition is essential to meeting our Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals. I am particularly pleased to see investments in our unions and BOCES to equip the next generation of tradesmen and women to build, service, and repair offshore wind turbines.”

Alliance for Clean Energy Executive Director Anne Reynolds said, “The Governor’s recent Action Plan for Renewable Energy committed to an expedited and simplified solicitation for wind and solar projects and the announcement today is an excellent signal to the clean energy industry that that is exactly what will happen. Pursuing the clean energy transition demands boldness and flexibility, and we appreciate the opportunity to provide input when this expedited program is being shaped.”

Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera said, “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. These first steps in expanding the state’s large-scale renewable energy industry, including the support from OWTI for new skills training programs, represent a crucial part of achieving the goals set out by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and unlocking a clean energy future that will improve the lives of all New Yorkers and help provide our future generations with a healthy environment to live and thrive in. 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.”

Iron Workers Locals 40 & 361 Director of Training Bryan M. Brady II said, "The Iron Workers of Locals 40 and 361 are proud to partner with NYSERDA to help train New York State residents for the skills they will need to build our future and theirs. Not only will they be building New York's new power supply, they will also be supporting our state’s economy with a true middle-class tax paying career. It's a win-win for our students and New York State."

Capital Region BOCES Director of Special Projects & Strategic Partnerships Joe Dragone said, “Capital Region BOCES is excited to bring our recognized training programs in the Electrical Trades, Building Trades, and Welding & Metal Fabrication to support workforce development for the offshore wind industry. Our model of cross sector partnerships with leaders in industry, economic development and human services including Advance Albany County Alliance, Albany Port District Commission, Capital District Transit Authority, Capital Region Workforce Development Board, Capital District YMCA, Carver Companies, Center for Economic Growth, Equinor, Marmen, Inc., and the United Way of the Greater Capital Region underscores our collective commitment to eliminating barriers and providing training and career opportunities in the offshore wind industry.”

New York State Iron Workers District Council Vice President Jim Mahoney said, “I’m profoundly proud of Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for recognizing the paramount importance of training our union members for offshore wind jobs. 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.”

Today’s actions build on the momentum established by the Governor’s announcement this week, which publicized the largest state investment in renewable energy in United States history. The conditional awards included three offshore wind and 22 land-based renewable energy projects totaling 6.4 gigawatts of clean energy, enough to power 2.6 million New York homes and deliver approximately 12 percent of New York’s electricity needs once completed. When coupled with two marquee offshore wind blade and nacelle manufacturing facilities, this portfolio of newly announced projects is expected to create approximately 8,300 family-sustaining jobs and spur $20 billion in economic development investments statewide, including developer-committed investments to support disadvantaged communities.

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State's nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35%, with a goal of 40%, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70% renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000% growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and more than 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.