UK-based energy consultancy Xodus is teaming up with Browning the Green Space (BGS) coalition to create a workforce program aiming to increase the participation of underrepresented populations in the offshore wind industry across Massachusetts, USA.
The workforce program, which has received $140,000 of funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, includes a targeted community and education engagement campaign directed at high schools and community colleges in disadvantaged communities.
Target groups include people of color, indigenous people, women, students in vocational-technical education programs, and unemployed and low-income individuals.
BGS is a voluntary coalition of leaders and organizations, primarily in the New England region, working to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in clean energy, with the goal of increasing the participation and leadership of underrepresented groups.
"The program will provide insight into the career opportunities that the nascent US offshore wind industry can offer through two streams, tailored to the different age groups and levels of involvement. High schools and community colleges in disadvantaged areas will be targeted through a community and education engagement campaign, delivering an overview of the offshore wind industry," Xodus said.
"Further to that, two distinct paid work experience routes of varying timescales will provide pathways to industry employment - internships lasting for 10 weeks and pre-apprenticeships lasting for six months," the company said.
Hillary Bright, US vice president for renewables at Xodus said: "This program can help show that this new sector is fairer for everyone across the country. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to get this right and show the offshore wind sector as an example in delivering good-paying, high quality jobs for those who have often been underrepresented across the country. "
“It’s a socially monumental opportunity to engage in community-driven approaches to champion the need for diversity and inclusivity in the industry and initiatives like this one are crucial to fostering innovation. We want to build an inclusive workplace environment and see this replicated from others so it creates a fairer future for all.”
“In the development of the new US offshore wind industry, Massachusetts has a unique opportunity to build the industry and its associated workforce with a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion from the ground up”, added Kerry Bowie, BGS board president.
“We are proud to be a part of this project to highlight and create viable pathways for people from underserved communities to thrive in this burgeoning industry. As local businesses and community leaders, our ability to understand, embrace and operate in our multicultural environment is critical to the long-term sustainability of US’ clean energy ambitions.”
According to a Massachusetts Clean Energy Center report on the workforce needs and economic impact of the emerging offshore wind industry, the deployment of 1,600MW of offshore wind is estimated to support between 2,300 and 3,100 jobs over the next ten years and generate a total economic impact between $678 to $805 million.