Researchers Collaborate to Train and Build Workforce for Clean Energy

A team of researchers led by Extension professor Dwayne Breger from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) has been chosen for a two-year grant, with a value of more than $228,000

Electricity Maintenance Engineer working in the field. Image Credit: ArtmannWitte/Shutterstock.com

The award was announced by The Baker-Polito administration and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. It will support UMass to extend access for the under-represented and target masses to its ongoing Offshore Wind (OSW) Professional Certificate Program.

The research will be performed in collaboration with diversity offices in STEM-related colleges and departments across Massachusetts and New York, along with many other offshore wind-energy industry partners.

Financial support was extended through Expanding Access to Opportunity in the Offshore Wind Workforce Program by Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, which would help develop equitable and accessible offshore wind workforce training programs guided by organizations operating in the Commonwealth nations.

Our objective with this award is to help prepare underrepresented populations for the rapidly growing offshore wind energy industry, including BIPOC/ethnic minorities, Veterans, indigenous populations, women and residents of the state’s Gateway Cities.

Dwayne Breger, Director, Clean Energy Extension, University of Massachusetts Amherst

According to Jody Jellison, director of the UMass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, “This program is of great benefit to the emerging offshore wind energy sector and serves to enable expanded workforce participation from traditionally underrepresented groups. We are very grateful for this new funding.”

UMass and its research associates will work together to expand the capacity to design a sustainable process for near-term and recent graduates from four-year college degree programs from selected priority groups. The invitation offers:

  • A detailed professional development program in addition to training and coaching
  • Recruitment chances with educational partners like UMass Lowell, UMass Boston, UMass Amherst, MIT, and the City University of New York
  • Customized solutions to potential hindrances for participating students
  • Certificate program tuition scholarship and non-curriculum student support

The list of industry partners includes LAUTEC, Sustainable Energy Advantage LLC, CREADIS Inc., and others. The partners will provide internship opportunities and professional training while participating candidates complete the certification course. A year after the certificate courses, professional development, and internship experience, students can secure and retain professional career positions in the OSW industry.

Expanding offshore wind training and educational programs targeting underrepresented populations will pave the way for the Commonwealth’s talented and diverse workforce to take advantage of rewarding new job opportunities in clean energy.

Karyn Polito, Lieutenant Governor

We are pleased to support the offshore wind industry, our local colleges, workforce development organizations, and organized labor as they seek to help Massachusetts workers participate in this fast-growing industry,” added Polito.

In order to achieve its ambitious target of Net Zero emissions by 2050, Massachusetts will need to build a vibrant, diverse, and skilled workforce to build the clean energy system of the future.

Kathleen Theoharides, Secretary, Energy and Environmental Affairs

Theoharides concluded that “These grants support key partnerships for local training programs that are focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and helping all people across the Commonwealth find a pathway to opportunity in offshore wind.”

Source: https://www.umass.edu/

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