NJEDA Board Approves Rowan College of South Jersey for Wind Turbine Tech Training Challenge Grant
TRENTON, N.J. (September 27, 2021) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board last week approved Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) as the winner of the NJ Wind Turbine Tech Training Challenge.
Supported by funding from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) and aligned with Governor Phil Murphy’s Wind Council recommendations, the NJ Wind Turbine Tech Training Challenge was launched in July as a competitive grant program to support a community college that collaborates with union trade organizations and industry partners to establish an offshore wind turbine technician training program. RCSJ will receive a grant of $819,019 to develop an industry-recognized wind turbine technician training program that will support the offshore wind industry and workforce in New Jersey.
“Thanks to Governor Murphy’s strong leadership, New Jersey is well on its way to becoming the capital of offshore wind in the U.S., bringing billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to our state,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “It is crucial that we take steps now to prepare to meet the industry’s workforce needs and to ensure equitable access to these opportunities for all New Jerseyans. We are proud to support RCSJ and our partners in labor and the trades to bring a comprehensive credential program to New Jersey that will ensure New Jersey students and workers have access to the training they need to work in offshore wind.”
“As New Jersey transitions to 100 percent clean energy, it is imperative that we cultivate a workforce prepared to meet the emerging opportunities that building and operating clean energy infrastructure offer,” said Joseph L. Fiordaliso, President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. “RCSJ has presented an impressive plan to ensure that the workforce of tomorrow has a place in our innovation economy and is grown right here in New Jersey. We are proud to support this exciting new initiative.”
“Offshore wind will create thousands of good-paying, permanent jobs. A critical step toward ensuring the state’s future success in this industry is strengthening our investment in workforce training and education today,” said Department of Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “As one of our key apprenticeship partners, RCSJ’s plans are an exciting step forward that will equip our workforce with the skills and knowledge they need to fill these family sustaining positions.”
“This critical initiative will ensure that New Jersey’s talent pipeline remains strong and our future economic growth prioritizes workforce opportunities for students to hone their skills and obtain high-quality credentials,” said NJ Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges. “RCSJ’s program will fuel a diverse and inclusive pipeline of talented workers and propel the state’s rapidly-growing clean energy sector to the forefront of the global stage.”
The Wind Turbine Tech Training Challenge is part of Governor Phil Murphy’s whole of government approach to generating 7.5 GW of offshore wind by 2035 and positioning New Jersey as a hub for the American offshore wind industry. Other initiatives include the construction of the New Jersey Wind Port, a state-of-the-art monopile manufacturing facility at the Port of Paulsboro, the Offshore Wind Tax Credit Program, and the Offshore Wind Safety Training Challenge. Taken together, these efforts will ensure New Jersey has the infrastructure, supply chain, and workforce needed to support offshore wind projects up and down the East Coast.
To ensure equitable access to the economic opportunities offshore wind creates, Governor Murphy established the Wind Council in 2019 to engage industry and local stakeholder groups to evaluate New Jersey’s existing workforce development assets and identify gaps that must be addressed to strengthen the state’s leadership position in offshore wind. On April 22, 2020, the Wind Council released a report summarizing its recommendations. Both the Wind Council report and the NJBPU’s New Jersey Offshore Wind Strategic Plan noted that there are currently no offshore wind turbine technician training programs in New Jersey and stressed the need to establish a program as soon as possible.
With funding provided by the NJBPU, the NJEDA launched the NJ Wind Turbine Tech Training Challenge in July to address this gap in New Jersey’s offshore wind ecosystem by providing grant funding to a New Jersey community college to collaborate with labor organizations and industry stakeholders to design and implement a curriculum that meets industry standards for wind turbine technician training.
An Evaluation Committee comprised of staff from the NJEDA, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development selected RCSJ as the winner of the challenge. The college will use the grant funding it receives to develop a stackable credential training program that includes two certificates linked to a Registered Apprenticeship and an Associate Degree for wind turbine technology. These stackable programs include:
- Wind Turbine Technician Career & Technical Education (CTE) Certificate: RCSJ will offer Global Wind Organization (GWO) Basic Technical Training (BTT). Students in this certificate program will complete the BTT modules as well an OSHA10 course and the GWO Basic Safety and Sea Survival Training (BST) modules to be offered by Atlantic Cape Community College at their campus in Atlantic City. A contract is pending between RCSJ and an industry-leading offshore wind training partner to deliver the training.
- Wind Turbine Technician Academic Certificate: RCSJ will offer a 36-credit academic certificate in Wind Power and Turbine Technology through a combination of classroom and hands-on laboratory learning that provides students with knowledge and understanding of fluid hydraulic systems, electrical machinery, mechanical operations, computer and information technology skills, wind turbine operations, safety training, and soft skills. The certificates will be linked to a U.S. Department of Labor registered Wind Turbine Technician Apprenticeship.
- Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Wind Power and Turbine Technology: RCSJ will develop a full AAS degree in Wind Power and Turbine Technology. Additionally, RCSJ has committed to working with Rowan University to stack the Wind Turbine programs into a bachelor’s degree, and potentially to the masters and Ph.D. levels in related trades and science and technology fields.
To guide the implementation of these new programs, RCSJ will form a Wind Turbine Technician Program Advisory Board comprised of industry representatives, labor organizations, regional workforce representatives, subject matter experts in workforce training, and RCSJ’s offshore wind academic team. This Advisory Board will support and advise on curriculum development and establish pathways for employment for program graduates. To ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion, RCSJ will partner with labor unions, community-based organizations, and others to recruit a diverse student population and provide wrap around and other services to support students during their training.
RCSJ anticipates the two wind certificate programs will launch in January 2023 and the AAS degree program will launch in the Fall semester of 2023.
“We are pleased that the College’s grant proposal to develop a Wind Turbine Technician Training program was selected by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Rowan College of South Jersey is ready to do our part to advance the offshore wind efforts in New Jersey and within the New Jersey Wind Institute,” stated Dr. Frederick Keating, president of Rowan College of South Jersey. “We are committed to developing and launching credentialed training programs to meet the labor market demands an offshore wind facility brings to the state. These stackable certificates and degrees will become a cornerstone of the College’s Career and Technical Education Division, helping to serve the southern New Jersey region with emphasis on Gloucester and Cumberland counties.”
“Standing up effective, industry recognized training programs is crucial to ensuring New Jersey has the workforce necessary to support the many large-scale offshore wind projects coming to the state while following through on Governor Murphy’s commitment to make opportunities in offshore wind equitable and accessible to all,” said Jen Becker, Managing Director of the Wind Institute. “RCSJ’s winning proposal for a comprehensive turbine technician training program aligns closely with the industry’s needs and New Jersey’s commitments to providing high quality training opportunities for everyone who wants to get involved in the growing offshore wind industry.”
More information about the NJEDA’s work to grow New Jersey’s offshore wind ecosystem is available at https://www.njeda.com/offshorewind.
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.
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