Governor Ralph Northam has announced the formation of an offshore and onshore wind workforce training programme, the Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance
The alliance will offer industry certifications that are key to the operation and long-term maintenance of wind power projects.
The Governor made the announcement addressing the 2020 Offshore Windpower Virtual Summit hosted by the American Wind Energy Association.
The New College Institute, which will serve as the host institution, is joining forces with Centura College and the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy to create the Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance. The partnership will bring courses certified by the Global Wind Organization and National Center for Construction, Education, and Research wind technician training to onshore and offshore wind projects to Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region.
“Building a strong wind energy workforce will give the Commonwealth a significant competitive advantage in attracting onshore and offshore wind projects,” said Governor Northam.
“There is currently massive potential for offshore wind up and down the east coast, and we look forward to working with our partners across Virginia and in neighbouring states to grow this industry and reap the tremendous economic benefits for our communities, especially those that have been historically disadvantaged.”
The alliance is a first step in what is expected to be a much larger workforce development effort to support the renewable energy industries in Virginia. Course offerings will span a wide variety of wind energy-related disciplines and provide students with a customisable portfolio of training options.
Programmes will range from specific certifications to a year-long wind turbine technician programme that bundles several industry-recognised certifications and prepares students to serve as certified installation technicians, inspectors, and maintenance technicians. The alliance plans to start offering programmes in early 2021.
Dominion Energy vice president for offshore wind Josh Bennett said, “Clean energy jobs in construction and operations will serve as a catalyst for delivering clean, renewable energy to the Commonwealth.
“The formation of the Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance is a critical step to developing a talented offshore wind workforce here in Virginia.”
Avangrid Renewables interim vice president of offshore wind Eric Thumma said, “Establishing the workforce that will maintain and operate projects for decades is critical.
“The Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance will facilitate the development of that workforce and the success of the offshore wind industry.”
Located in Martinsville, the New College Institute is a Commonwealth Higher Education Center that partners with industry and academia to provide post-secondary education, industry relevant workforce development and training opportunities in cutting-edge industries.
Centura College has seven education centres across eastern Virginia, including Tidewater Tech, which is home to the largest welding training centre in the Commonwealth. It is also parent to the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, which has 13 aviation technician training centres in the US.
Located in Norfolk, the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy is the largest training centre for US Coast Guard certifications on the east coast.
Riviera is hosting a week of free to attend 45-minute webinars focused on offshore wind commencing 2 November. Register your interest now