March 26, 2023

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Those looking to begin a career in offshore wind can soon enroll in a globally recognized training certificate program at the Community College of Rhode Island. The first of its kind in the state, the new program was formed out of a partnership between CCRI, various state agencies and private industry.
Revolution Wind, a 704-megawatt offshore wind development slated to be built just off the Rhode Island coast, supplied $1.5 million for the program’s upstart as part of a previously announced $4.5 million commitment to strengthening the state’s offshore wind workforce.
The wind farm project is a venture of Orsted and Eversource, the energy giants behind the nation’s first offshore wind project, the Block Island Wind Farm. Revolution Wind is expected to supply renewable power to Rhode Island and Connecticut.
“Today’s $1 million investment is building a safe and inclusive workforce in Rhode Island that will play a critical role in advancing the state’s blue economy and accelerate the transformation to a clean energy future we can all be proud of,” said Joe Nolan, Eversource CEO and president.
Construction of the new offshore wind farm is estimated to begin next year and be completed by 2025. The wind farm’s projected 100 turbines, set to be placed 12 miles southwest of Martha’s Vineyard, will be visible from shores around Aquidneck Island, including Easton’s Beach, Second Beach, Cliff Walk, the Pell Bridge, Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge and the Norman Bird Sanctuary.
“Our state has a historic, once-in-a-generation opportunity before us to capitalize on its position as the leader in wind and renewable energy, creating good-paying jobs and protecting Rhode Island’s future, while being well-positioned to lead the way in fighting the climate crisis,” said Gov. Dan McKee in an Aug. 2 release .
“We need to make sure Rhode Island is not just the birthplace of American offshore wind, but its home going forward. Investments like this are how we will make that happen,” said Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos. “This program will ensure that we have one of the best- trained wind energy workforces in the nation. We can protect our environment while creating goodpaying union jobs and leading a growing international industry.”
Revolution Wind is estimated by the state to create thousands of jobs in Rhode Island during construction and operations. Orsted and Eversource have invested a combined $40 million at ProvPort and Quonset Point in North Kingstown to support the wind farm and similar projects’ development, including a new regional offshore wind construction facility in Providence.
McKee signed legislation in June requiring the state have 100 percent renewable energy by 2033.
The partnership between the companies, higher education and state agencies aims to establish a Global Wind Organization (GWO) training certificate program at CCRI’s Flanagan campus in Lincoln. GWO training, the international standard for offshore wind safety preparation, provides essential safety training for workers engaged in offshore wind farm construction and operations.
Workers enrolled in the program will receive education in first aid, manual handling, fire awareness, working at heights and sea survival. The program takes about 44 hours to complete, and certification, which is required to work offshore, is valid for two years.
CCRI has no current plans to expand the program to its Newport or Warwick campuses, as the Lincoln campus comes equipped with the proper facilities, including a pool capable of simulating offshore conditions and large structures similar in height to turbines, to facilitate the course, said a spokesperson.
“CCRI is perfectly positioned to offer this training,” said Amy Kempe, CCRI director of marketing and communications. “The only community college in the state, CCRI has been offering career-oriented training, including workforce development programs, for decades. GWO training is a natural fit.”
The program will be offered in cohorts expected to begin in March 2023. About 150 students are estimated to complete the course by next summer. Enrollment will not be limited, said Kempe. Orsted and Eversource are providing the funding to CCRI to “upgrade and retrofit the facilities, purchase equipment and obtain program accreditation.”
The work will be completed by Boston Energy over the fall and CCRI will cover administration costs.
“CCRI is the workforce training engine that will power the growing offshore energy sector in Rhode Island,” said Meghan Hughes, CCRI president. “We are grateful to our industry, government, and labor partners for this investment, which will allow CCRI to build a worldclass GWO training program that will provide Rhode Islanders with the skills needed to enter highquality careers in the offshore wind sector.”
In addition to CCRI, Orsted and Eversource, partners include the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Rhode Island Commerce, the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council, and Building Futures, a company with extensive experience executing training programs and a collaborator with RI DLT since 2007.
Revolution Wind is one of many planned offshore wind development projects off New England’s coast, including the 130-megawatt South Fork Wind to serve Long Island and the 924-megawatt Sunrise Wind project serving New York.

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