New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced $4 million in grants awarded from the Offshore Wind Training Institute to 10 SUNY campus-led programs, including Stony Brook University, designed to prepare students for careers in this growing industry. The winning programs will expand workforce development and training initiatives for jobs in constructing, manufacturing, installing, operating and maintaining offshore wind farms.
“Nation-leading programs like the Offshore Wind Training Institute are essential to ensuring that the State’s workforce is ready to support our ambitious renewable energy goals,” Governor Hochul said in her May 26 announcment. “SUNY, in partnership with NYSERDA, is equipping new and existing workers to participate in the green energy revolution here in New York for generations to come — helping us address the climate crisis and create a greener state for all.”
In this round of grants, 10 programs were approved for seven SUNY campuses including Stony Brook, Alfred State College, University at Buffalo, Farmingdale State College, Hudson Valley Community College, Suffolk County Community College and SUNY Polytechnic Institute. A second round of awards will be announced in summer 2023.
“As we work to prepare the next generation of scholars and professionals for the offshore wind sector and build both short- and long-term infrastructure for offshore wind energy in New York, the OWTI’s mission has always required skill, collaboration, and vision,” said Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis. “The SUNY community has that vision. We are proud to help bring SUNY to the forefront of New York’s collective action against climate change, uniting leaders from across the state, including our partners at Farmingdale State College, NYSERDA, Chancellor King, and others.”
Stony Brook and Farmingdale jointly administer and provide technical support to the OWTI, utilizing its well-established, degree-awarding and non-credit workforce programmatic offerings as well as its New York-focused renewable-energy workforce initiatives. The project will be overseen by a coordinating council composed of representatives from SUNY colleges as well as state and local agencies and organizations engaged in building and preparing a workforce and talent pool to work in the wind-energy field.
The OWTI, along with NYSERDA, has built a network of academic, community, and industry and labor alliances that will prepare up to 25,000 New Yorkers for careers in renewable-energy fields. In working collaboratively to advance the development of wind-energy technology, the Institute expects to work synergistically with the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, located at Stony Brook and supported by NYSERDA, and the US Department of Energy and the Renewable Energy and Sustainability Center at Farmingdale.
Governor Hochul launched the request for proposals in October 2022. The grant process is led by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in collaboration with Farmingdale State College and Stony Brook University. The funding, to be distributed through multiple rounds of selection, will award each program up to $500,000.
Applicants were asked to apply under one or more “priority focus areas,” which include expanding existing SUNY curricula relevant to offshore wind; responding to rapid, targeted training needs; and addressing barriers to entry. Proposals addressed equity needs, long-term outreach to young students, community-driven efforts to raise awareness, and partnerships with connected or adjacent sectors.
“NYSERDA is proud to partner with SUNY on the Offshore Wind Training Institute to prepare New Yorkers for the thousands of family-sustaining jobs that will be realized as we build this new industry from the ground up,” said NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said. “These new SUNY-led programs will expand offshore wind workforce development and training opportunities to more areas of the state—providing greater access to careers in offshore wind while helping us build New York’s clean-energy future.”