ATLANTIC CITY — Atlantic Cape Community College will receive $3 million to start a safety training program for offshore wind projects as the winner of the New Jersey Offshore Wind Safety Training Challenge, state officials said Tuesday.
“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,” Atlantic Cape President Barbara Gaba said.
The announcement came from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. Funding for the grant comes from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ Clean Energy Program.
As the winner, Atlantic Cape will develop a training program certified by the Global Wind Organization, a nonprofit established by wind turbine manufacturers that focuses on creating injury-free work environments, and build a 1,700-square-foot facility to house the program at its Atlantic City campus, which will be open by 2022. The college will use a rehabilitated section of Gardner’s Basin for the Sea Survival module.
The state said 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 & Girls Club of Atlantic City; and demonstrated a commitment to prioritizing diversity and inclusion.
“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,” Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges said.
The Offshore Wind Safety Training Challenge was part of the Murphy administration’s goal of generating 7.5 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2035 and positioning New Jersey as a hub for the American offshore wind industry.
“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,” NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan said.
Sullivan said Atlantic Cape’s proposal will bring the training program to “the heart of New Jersey’s growing wind industry.”
To date, the BPU has awarded two offshore wind solicitations. Ørsted’s 1,100 megawatt Ocean Wind project won the first solicitation in June 2019, and last week the BPU awarded a combined 2,658 megawatts 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 megawatts, is the nation’s largest combined award. Both Ørsted projects are located off Atlantic and Cape May counties.
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