The state continued its push to support and fund offshore wind programs with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s board approval for an agreement with Salem County Vocational Technical School.
The accord, announced April 14 and approved at the board’s meeting the day before, will support the school’s expansion of its offshore wind-related painting and welding programs. As part of the deal, NJEDA will contribute up to $200,000 toward the expansion of programs for jobs in heavy steel offshore wind component manufacturing.
“NJEDA’s support of offshore wind programs at SCVTS is part of our efforts to ensure New Jersey’s pipeline of skilled workers keeps pace with growing demand from the high-growth offshore wind industry,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “This focus on offshore wind education supports Gov. Phil Murphy’s vision for New Jersey as a global leader in the industry, and also advances his goal of a stronger and fairer economy by creating equitable educational and career opportunities.”
“Since the beginning of this process, the NJEDA has been committed to making sure that Salem County residents are given this opportunity for employment at the Wind Port facility,” said Salem County Commissioner Director Ben Laury. “The Board of Commissioners is pleased to see that commitment manifest in an investment for SCVTS and its students.”
The agreement is essentially modeled after a similar one that was announced in December between NJEDA and Gloucester County Institute of Technology. NJEDA will help to fund equipment, materials, instructor time and other expenses required to students for the specific skill that they will need for this type of manufacturing.
“NJEDA’s commitment to funding these growing programs is an investment in the future of our local workforce,” said SCVTS Superintendent John Swain. “Training and reskilling workers will prepare them for high-quality offshore wind career opportunities that will sustain our families and communities well into the future.”
Funding is based on a previous understanding between NJEDA and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to support offshore wind training and research initiatives.
“This agreement will result in opportunities for high school student and adult learners to gain the specialized skills needed for jobs in the offshore wind large-scale steel component manufacturing sector,” said Jen Becker, managing director of Wind Institute Development. “We’re really excited to launch these programs in the coming months.”