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NJEDA to Partner with Rutgers on Disparity Study for NJ Wind Port Contracting

Study will support Authority’s commitment to setting a new standard for diversity and inclusion

TRENTON, N.J. (August 11, 2020) – As part of its commitment to setting a new standard for diversity and inclusion, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced today plans to contract with Rutgers University to conduct a disparity study of the Authority’s contractual awards related to the New Jersey Wind Port. The study will analyze whether there is a disparity between the number of qualified minority-, women-, veteran- and/or LGBTQ-owned businesses (MWVLOBs) that are ready, willing, and able to contract with the NJEDA and perform services relevant to development of the Wind Port and the number of vendors and contractors that have historically received contracts for similar work. The study will also recommend programmatic remedies to address any identified disparity or underutilization of MWVLOBs.
 
“The New Jersey Wind Port will not only protect our environment by growing our green energy sector, but will also benefit New Jersey businesses and workers by creating thousands of jobs and attracting millions of dollars of investment to the state,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Ensuring that the opportunities this project creates are distributed equitably is crucial to achieving our goal of building a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy. The disparity study we are conducting with Rutgers will be a vital tool for us as we continue our efforts to set a new standard for diversity and inclusion during construction of the Wind Port and once the project becomes operational.”
 
The New Jersey Wind Port is a first-in-the-nation infrastructure investment that will provide a location for essential staging, assembly, and manufacturing activities related to offshore wind projects on the East Coast. It has the potential to create up to 1,500 manufacturing, assembly, and operations jobs, as well as hundreds of construction jobs in New Jersey; and manufacturing and marshalling projects supported by the Wind Port will drive economic growth throughout the state. 
 
The Wind Port will be located on the eastern shore of the Delaware River in Lower Alloways Creek, Salem County; approximately seven-and-a-half miles southwest of the City of Salem. Construction is planned in two phases, beginning in 2021. Phase 1 will develop a 30-acre site to accommodate marshalling activities and a 25-acre component manufacturing site. Phase 2 adds another 150 acres to accommodate expanded marshalling activities and extensive manufacturing facilities for turbine components such as blades and nacelles.
 
“Projects on the scale of the New Jersey Wind Port present crucial opportunities for businesses to grow and gain experience working on government contracts. Unfortunately, in the past, minority-, women-, and LGBTQ-owned businesses have been excluded from these opportunities, both intentionally and by simple oversight,” said NJEDA Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Michelle Bodden. “This disparity study is an important step in the right direction that will not only help ensure the opportunities the Wind Port creates are available to all interested and qualified firms, but will also pave the way for more inclusive and diverse hiring in future projects.”
 
The disparity study will focus on contracts related to the development of the Wind Port. The Rutgers research team’s final report will include analysis of the number of MWVLOBs that are ready, willing, and able to do business and contract with the NJEDA in each Market Sector and an assessment of the NJEDA’s historic utilization of these businesses in similar contracts. The disparity study will also identify barriers to MWVLOB participation in NJEDA contracts and recommend programs to reduce or eliminate these barriers as well as additional tools and practices the NJEDA could use to encourage MWVLOB participation in contracts, financial assistance, and other support programs.
 
“Despite being one of the most diverse states in the nation, inequality continues to persist in New Jersey, especially in access to opportunities. Rutgers is proud to work with the NJEDA to begin dismantling these historic inequalities by identifying any existing disparities related to the New Jersey Wind Port project and recommending programs and policies to address both the immediate problem and the underlying causes,” said Kevin Lyons, Ph.D., Director of the Public Private Community Partnership Program at Rutgers Business School. “The Wind Port is an amazing opportunity for New Jersey to build a clean energy future while creating opportunities for businesses, and we look forward to helping the NJEDA complete the project in a way that distributes these economic benefits equitably.”
 
More information about the New Jersey Wind Port is available at https://www.nj.gov/windport/.
 
 To read Governor Murphy's full economic plan, please visit: https://nj.gov/economicplan
 
About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
 
To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.
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