From the office of Congressman Bill Keating...
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bill Keating (D-MA) reintroduced the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, legislation to educate and train a new generation of American offshore wind workers. The legislation has four original cosponsors: Congressmen Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ).
The federal grant program created by this legislation will assist colleges and universities, state and local governments, unions, and nonprofits develop curricula, internships, health and safety programs, and other activities deemed appropriate by the Secretaries of Energy, Labor, Interior, and Education to advance an offshore wind workforce. The bill prioritizes grants to community colleges, organizations that service minority populations, and those helping workers from other industries transition to the offshore wind industry.
Congressman Keating said: “At a moment in our history when we are at a true crossroads with climate change and the need for clean energy, we are proud in Southeastern Massachusetts to be developing one of the first off-shore wind energy sites in the country. The jobs created here will coexist with our traditional economy, benefit new industries, and improve many communities while protecting our environment in a responsible way. There are plenty of hard-working Americans who are ready, willing, and able to train in the wind industry, which has a proven track record of creating long-term, high-paying jobs. This legislation will help us meet our goal of ensuring that we have a well-trained, local workforce ready on day one.
Congressman Kennedy said: “Building an offshore wind industry capable of powering our homes and businesses requires American workers trained and ready to fill the jobs created in their own backyard. Along the South Coast of Massachusetts, we have already begun to harness the potential of offshore wind through existing infrastructure, abundant natural resources, supportive local government, innovative business and a determined workforce. Through the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, the federal government can help build on the success we have seen in our Commonwealth and expand the opportunities of a thriving blue economy from coast to coast.”
Congressman Lowenthal said: “We must transition to renewable energy production for the sake of our climate and public health. Offshore wind will be a big part of this country’s renewable energy future, creating good jobs and for coastal communities. We must ensure that there is a skilled workforce who can step into this emerging field and the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act helps secure that education and training.”
Congressman McEachin said: “In order to address the mounting challenges of climate change, we must build a cleaner, more sustainable economy. We need greater investment in low- and no-carbon generating capacity and workforce development efforts to support the jobs this change will create. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, which invests in the renewable energy workforce that will power our transition to a green-collar economy. Since my time in the Virginia General Assembly, I have fought to expand the development of offshore wind capabilities, and this bill will provide individuals, particularly those from low-income communities and communities of color, with the skills and training necessary for employment in this important industry.”
Congressman Norcross said: “Investing in America’s energy infrastructure is vital to our country’s growth and, as we move forward, we must focus on sustainability, follow sound science and add high-wage jobs in the energy sector. In my home state of New Jersey, we’re already investing in offshore wind to power our economy. These projects will create jobs and clean energy for our region and country. Importantly, as we build new clean-energy sources for our future, we must also build the workforce that supports them. I graduated from a registered electrical apprenticeship program, and I look forward to seeing the next generation of workers building our offshore wind infrastructure.”
The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act is endorsed by a number of national offshore wind energy experts:
Tom Kiernan, CEO, American Wind Energy Association:
“America’s energy workers are second to none, and over the next decade we’ll need to fill tens of thousands of new jobs to manufacture, build and operate the first large-scale U.S. offshore wind projects. The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act would make a smart investment in the American workforce, essential to realize offshore wind’s nearly $70 billion revenue opportunity for American supply chain businesses and arming U.S. workers with the skills needed to succeed in rewarding offshore wind careers.”
Mike Williams, Co-Interim Executive Director, BlueGreen Alliance
“The offshore wind industry holds great potential for creating quality, family-sustaining jobs while producing clean, renewable energy. As more wind farms spring up off America’s coasts, demand for the highly skilled workers needed to complete these innovative projects will grow as well. The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act will play a significant role in providing the skills needed for workers to break into this growing field.”
Mike Langford, National President, Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO
“The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act recognizes the potential for offshore wind energy production along the Eastern seaboard to create jobs and new economic opportunity. By equally supporting a wide variety of workforce development strategies targeted in this growing energy sector, including union training and apprenticeship programs, this bill points the way to a future of high-quality, middle-class jobs in this industry. Thank you to Rep. Bill Keating for his leadership building the worker and community-supporting clean energy economy of tomorrow.”