The growing offshore wind industry in the Chesapeake region is building up its workforce thanks to a new $22.9 million federal grant for a program to be based in Baltimore.
The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded the American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge grant to the Maryland Department of Labor to start a new apprenticeship program known as Maryland Works for Wind.
Under the program, employers like Chesapeake Shipbuilding, Ørsted Offshore North America and US Wind, along with seven local unions, will build a training model for local communities focusing on formerly incarcerated people, veterans, youth, and other underserved communities.
US Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski says in a statement, “Building offshore wind projects off the coast of Maryland and Sparrows Point Steel in Baltimore County will require a multi-faceted, multi-skilled workforce…With the help of union labor, minority businesses, and community colleges, we can train diverse workers from underserved populations for good-paying jobs that serve both US Wind’s projects and the greater U.S. market.”
Ørsted, developer for Skipjack Wind off the coast of Ocean City, says it will create thousands of local jovs during development and operation, investing nearly $735 million in Maryland. Alongside the Maryland Works for Wind initiative, Ørsted will committ $10 million to STEM education and workforce development programs in colleges, school systems, and apprenticeship programs across the state.
Maryland’s $22.9 million federal grant is one of 32 awarded to worker-centered workforce training partnerships in the U.S. The 32 projects were selected from a competitive pool of 509 applicants.
-Meg Walburn Viviano