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Atlantic Cape Wins Offshore Wind Safety Training Challenge

07/06/2021 | Media Contact: Erin Mercer | (609) 343-4923
photo of offshore wind turbines

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) today announced that Atlantic Cape Community College (Atlantic Cape) has won the New Jersey Offshore Wind Safety Training Challenge. Atlantic Cape will receive $3 million to establish an industry-recognized Global Wind Organization (GWO) safety training program and facility to prepare New Jersey workers for jobs in the state’s growing offshore wind industry.

The Offshore Wind Safety Training Challenge is part of the Murphy administration’s whole of government approach to achieving the Governor’s goal of generating 7.5 GW of offshore wind power 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, and the NJ Wind Turbine Tech Training Challenge, a competitive grant program that will award up to $1 million to a New Jersey community college that collaborates with union trade organizations and industry partners to establish an offshore wind turbine technician training program.

“Offshore wind is a priority sector for the Murphy administration that has unparalleled potential to drive long-term, equitable economic growth. Establishing a Global Wind Organization safety training program and facility in New Jersey will make jobs in offshore wind more accessible to New Jersey residents and will help to establish the state as a hub of the growing American offshore wind industry,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Atlantic Cape’s winning proposal will bring this training program to a community at the heart of New Jersey’s growing wind industry and help to ensure equitable access to opportunity in offshore wind.”

“Providing equitable access to innovative opportunities is vital to building a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy that works for all residents. This collaboration between the employer community and the higher education sector is essential to ensuring that the postsecondary-to-employment ecosystem is well-positioned for the future,” said Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges. “We are excited to work with Atlantic Cape to create new opportunities for New Jerseyans to gain access to the critical training, education, and skills required to compete for jobs in offshore wind.”

“Training and certifying New Jersey workers for jobs in offshore wind is a critical aspect of growing this important new industry in New Jersey and will ensure in-state candidates can benefit from its many exciting, once-in-a-generation opportunities,” said New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “NJBPU is proud to provide the funding to support Atlantic Cape’s proposal to establish this important safety program in Atlantic City.”

“Atlantic Cape is thrilled to have been selected as the winner of the Offshore Wind Safety Training Challenge. Offshore wind is an exciting industry that will open doors for thousands of New Jerseyans, and we are thrilled to play a part in preparing students and workers to participate in this exciting new industry at our Worthington Atlantic City Campus,” said Dr. Barbara Gaba, President of Atlantic Cape Community College. “We appreciate the support Governor Murphy and the NJEDA, OSHE, and NJBPU are providing to make this possible, and look forward to launching this new program in the near future.”

Offshore wind is a rapidly expanding international industry that Governor Murphy has prioritized as a target sector for driving long-term, sustainable economic growth. To date, the NJBPU has awarded two offshore wind solicitations. Ørsted’s 1,100 MW Ocean Wind project won the first solicitation in June 2019, and last week the NJBPU awarded a combined 2,658 MW of offshore wind capacity to EDF/Shell’s Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind and Ørsted’s Ocean Wind II. This award, which will bring New Jersey’s total planned offshore wind capacity to over 3,700 MW, is the nation’s largest combined award.

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.

One of the key workforce development needs the WIND Council identified is the creation of opportunities for workers to receive GWO Basic Safety and Sea Survival Training. The GWO is a non-profit body founded by leading wind turbine manufacturers and operators that aims to support an injury-free environment in the wind industry. It has set the industry-recognized standard for safety training and many manufacturers and owners of wind turbines require workers to obtain certifications by completing these trainings. To achieve New Jersey’s target of generating 7,500 MW by 2035, at least 1,825 workers will need to complete GWO Basic Safety and Sea Survival Training between 2023 and 2035.

As the winner of the Offshore Wind Safety Training Challenge, Atlantic Cape will enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with OSHE for a $3 million grant to develop a GWO certified training program and facility to be operational by the end of 2022. Funding for the grant comes from the NJBPU’s New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program™ (NJCEP). The winner of the Challenge was determined by an evaluation committee comprised of NJEDA and OSHE staff that reviewed all proposals received from Challenge applicants based on the scoring criteria framework established when the Challenge launched.

Atlantic Cape’s proposal included extensive stakeholder support; identified opportunities for collaboration across stakeholders including the City of Atlantic City, labor unions, chambers of commerce, Stockton University, and the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City; and demonstrated a commitment to prioritizing diversity and inclusion. The college’s GWO-certified partners are Arcon Training Center, a woman-owned business that recently executed a similar project in Maryland, and AIS Training and 3t Energy Group, which both have significant experience running GWO-certified programs in the United Kingdom.

In addition to developing the training program, Atlantic Cape will also build a 1,700-square- foot addition at their Atlantic City campus for the Basic Safety Training modules and utilize a rehabilitated section at Gardner’s Basin for the Sea Survival module. This facility will be strategically located near established offshore wind lease areas off the coast of New Jersey and in close proximity to the proposed Ocean Wind Operations and Maintenance port in Atlantic City.