Now that the Block Island farm has been operating for two years, Rhode Island is leading the way in another initiative: a training program for students interested in careers in the offshore wind industry. The program was launched on Wind Wind Island, and this program was launched this fall with a small group at Rocky Hill School and the North Kingstown High School, which lies on the Rhode Island coastline.
Through WindWin RI, developed in partnership with the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce and the State Work and Training Training Section, students learn the disciplines and general of the offshore wind sector. They take courses in engineering, welding, electrical systems and maritime safety. The program, says director Christine Auerbach, is designed to give participants up to nine university credits. The pilot office funded the pilot program with a grant of $ 100,000 and the first round of the program will complete the program in 2020.
"By talking to people in the industry, we learned that the skills that are most applicable to wind-electric welding, electricity, fabrication, are maintained by the age-old workforce," says Urbach. In Rhode Island, the workforce currently controls people 55 years or older. As the state aims to build more offshore wind power after Block Island's success, it can not prove the success of future construction on the aging population. Earlier this year, for example, governor Gina Raimundo gave the green light to another offshore wind project in the waters of Rhode Island, which is expected to create 800 jobs. Auerbach says the state should look to link young people to these opportunities, which are expected to grow only.
"We are closing the gap between what is expected to be a big area of growth in our economy and the fact that those who can do these jobs now are those who are coming out of the workforce," says Auerbach. Raimundo has vowed to double the number of green jobs in the state by 2020 and make the state's energy resources 10 times cleaner, which will certainly help develop more offshore wind projects. But Wind Win RI aims to ensure that these jobs can be filled by young people living in the state.
Because Wind-Win RI addresses the need for jobs (especially for young people) and the need to switch to green energy, it reflects a larger proposal at the national level: the new green deal. The new green deal, adopted by the elected representative of Alexandria, Ocacio Cortez of New York, aims to address climate change by building jobs in the green energy sector and accelerating the transition to renewable energy by 100% in a way that strengthens the economy. The idea is gaining momentum, and the program in Rhode Island can be seen as a pilot program for the broader proposal.
In Rhode Island, Wind Win RI organizers focus on the success of the program for participating students. "What the certificate consists of is the development of skill sets and exposure to the offshore wind industry for students," says Auerbach. They make field trips to Block Island and the Wind Energy Research Center at Rhode Island, where they learn about the process of obtaining approval and developing Block Island. Students are also trained by the Coast Guard to operate boats to transport people abroad to carry out offshore turbines. Their goal is that students who complete the certification program can use it to direct their university education, or go directly to the workforce. Ultimately, program managers hope to have enough funding to expand more schools in the next few years.