NJEDA to launch offshore wind grant challenge

NJBIZ STAFF//September 29, 2022//

NJEDA to launch offshore wind grant challenge

NJBIZ STAFF//September 29, 2022//

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The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) created a competitive grant program to provide opportunities for New Jerseyans to develop skills for careers in the burgeoning offshore wind industry.

Announced Sept. 28, the $3.725 million Offshore Wind Workforce and Skills Development Grant Challenge, which was approved at an NJEDA board meeting earlier this month, will offer awards to selected entities to support launching or expanding workforce training and skills programs focused on strengthening and diversifying New Jersey’s offshore wind workforce.

The announcement comes on the heels of the governor signing an executive order last week that increases the state’s offshore wind goals by nearly 50%.

Gov. Phil Murphy at Climate Week in New York
During events to mark Climate Week in New York on Sept. 21, 2022, Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 307, which increases New Jersey’s offshore wind goal by nearly 50% to 11,000 megawatts (MW) by 2040. – EDWIN J. TORRES/NJ GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

“Offshore wind is driving an abundance of skilled jobs in New Jersey, and Gov. Phil Murphy is committed to ensuring the state’s workforce keeps pace with the needs of offshore wind companies investing here,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “We have a responsibility to ensure that New Jerseyans are adequately and safely trained for these good-paying opportunities. We look forward to partnering with entities with expertise and creative workforce development solutions that will advance these goals in an equitable and inclusive way.”

The NJEDA says the Grant Challenge is part of its effort to establish the Wind Institute for Innovation and Training as an independent entity created through legislation. That Wind Institute would oversee the coordination and deployment of resources to advance offshore wind workforce development, research and innovation throughout the Garden State.

Entities that support these workforce development aims can apply for grants of between $100,000 and $1 million to create their proposed programs. Examples of such entities are: community-based or workforce training organizations, labor unions, workforce placement intermediaries, technical high schools, community colleges, universities, nonprofits, regional workforce development boards, and private companies.

The NJEDA says that priority will be given to applicants or applicant teams that propose initiatives supporting training and access for residents of Overburdened Communities.

It’s also encouraging collaboration. Organizations that wish to team up have until Oct. 20 to submit an optional Potential Collaborator Form. An informational webinar will be held Oct. 11 at 3 p.m. The application deadline will be announced in the coming months, according to the NJEDA.

“As we pursue our clean energy future and increased offshore wind development goals, it’s crucial that we develop a skilled and inclusive workforce to support our growing clean energy economy,” said Jane Cohen, executive director of the governor’s Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy. “Establishing accessible pathways for entrance into good-paying jobs with wage parity and long-term career prospects will help position all New Jerseyans to enjoy the optimal benefits of the state’s clean energy transition.”

More information on the Grant Challenge is available here.

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