New York State Governor Kathy Hochul has announced the second round of nearly $4 million in Offshore Wind Training Institute grants awarded for workforce development, supporting programs at Stony Brook University and seven other State University of New York (SUNY) campuses preparing students for careers in the emerging offshore wind industry.
The winning programs will expand workforce development and training initiatives for jobs in constructing, manufacturing, installing, operating and maintaining offshore wind farms. Governor Hochul previously announced the first round of $4 million for Offshore Wind Training Institute grants in May 2023. In total, $8 million for 28 grants has been awarded across SUNY campuses.
“As New York State continues to lead the nation in our transition to clean energy, the Offshore Wind Training Institute is helping to ensure our state’s workforce is prepared to fill the jobs we need to reach our ambitious energy goals,” Governor Hochul said in her February 9 announcement. “Through this grant program, we are equipping students with the tools they need to fill the clean energy jobs of the future and build a greener New York for generations to come.”
“As preparation of a highly qualified offshore wind workforce remains a top priority for Stony Brook, we are grateful to Governor Hochul for her visionary support to accelerate the much-needed growth of a skilled wind-energy talent pool,” said Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis. “In partnership with Chancellor King, our SUNY collaborators, NYSERDA and state leaders, we look forward to accelerating these efforts to help bring SUNY to the forefront of New York’s collective efforts against climate change.”
The $20 million OWTI was launched in 2020 in collaboration with SUNY’s Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook University and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to advance offshore wind training programs and the educational infrastructure needed to establish a skilled workforce that can support the emerging national offshore wind industry. Including this round, the OWTI has awarded $8 million for 28 grants distributed across all sectors and regions of the SUNY system with individual awards up to $500,000.
In this second round, grants were allocated to Stony Brook, University at Albany, University at Buffalo, Farmingdale State College, Hudson Valley Community College, SUNY Morrisville, SUNY Oneonta, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
Stony Brook and Farmingdale jointly administer and provide technical support to the OWTI, utilizing its well-established, degree-awarding and non-credit workforce programmatic offerings as well as its New York-focused renewable-energy workforce initiatives. The project is overseen by a coordinating council composed of representatives from SUNY colleges as well as state and local agencies and organizations engaged in building and preparing a workforce and talent pool to work in the wind-energy field.
The OWTI, along with NYSERDA, has built a network of academic, community, industry and labor alliances that will prepare up to 25,000 New Yorkers for careers in renewable-energy fields. In working collaboratively to advance the development of wind-energy technology, the Institute expects to work synergistically with the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, located at Stony Brook and supported by NYSERDA, and the US Department of Energy and the Renewable Energy and Sustainability Center at Farmingdale.
Applicants for these grants were asked to apply under one or more “priority focus areas,” which include expanding existing SUNY curricula relevant to offshore wind; responding to rapid, targeted training needs; and addressing barriers to entry. Proposals addressed equity needs, long-term outreach to young students, community-driven efforts to raise awareness, and partnerships with connected or adjacent sectors.
“To meet climate goals set by both President Biden and Governor Hochul, the offshore wind workforce needs to grow significantly over the next several years,” said SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. “That’s where SUNY and the Offshore Wind Training Institute come into play by developing programs to prepare the highly skilled, in-demand workforce that will power New York’s sustainable energy future. All of these projects represent the significant strides SUNY is taking toward advancing New York State’s climate goals.”
“With New York’s first offshore wind project starting to deliver clean energy, the time is now for students to receive the education needed to gain entry into this new and exciting industry,” said NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris. “The SUNY system is a cornerstone of the state’s higher education system, and by bringing these offshore wind training opportunities to more SUNY campuses, the Offshore Wind Training Institute is making these cutting-edge programs more accessible to those looking to play a key role the clean energy revolution.”