B.C.C. To Develop Offshore Wind Energy Training Center
NEW BEDFORD - With New Bedford figuring prominently in the impending offshore wind industry, a new partnership will provide education and training services for those interested in a career in harnessing wind power.
During a press conference at their Purchase Street building, Bristol Community College President Laura Douglas and Mayor Jon Mitchell announced the creation of the college's first endowed faculty position, which will lead a program designed for education in the offshore wind industry.
The program was made possible by a partnership between the community college and offshore wind developer Bay State Wind. The partnership includes a memorandum of agreement submitted as part of a bid proposal to Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities for Long-Term Contracts for Offshore Wind Energy Projects.
The memorandum of agreement calls for Bay State Wind to fund B.C.C. with a $1 million endowment to create a faculty position to lead the offshore wind education program. The endowment will be paid over a five year span at a rate of $200,000 per year beginning in January of 2019.
“We're so excited to partner with Bay State Wind,” B.C.C. President Laura Douglas said. “That would allow us to create an endowed faculty position which would support a faculty position in perpetuity, which is extremely important because as funding for higher education decreases we need to preserve those very important faculty positions.”
The agreement celebrates a long-term commitment by both organizations to develop effective training models and workforce requirements needed to create a sustainable offshore wind industry. The partnership also explores the possibility of developing an industry training center in the city with other interested developers.
“It's a good first step. Our goal is for New Bedford to be the center of the offshore wind industry on the east coast and in order to do that it has to have a number of industry facets here,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “Operations, maintenance, staging, manufacturing, and so forth, but training as well. So if we're taking a step in the direction of establishing New Bedford as a training center then that will stand us in good stead for a long time.”
In addition the newly endowed faculty position, Bay State Wind has also dedicated its resources to assisting the community college in training teachers in the public school system to educate their students on wind energy.
“They have also agreed to help us on some of our advisory boards, with our women in the STEM program, and to help us with further training for K-12 teachers in the area to help them teach about wind energy,” Douglas said. “It's a great start for education and training here in New Bedford.”
B.C.C. is currently offering an Engineering Technology and Offshore Wind Power Technology concentration in its Associates program in Science in Engineering Technology, as well as a Certificate of Recognition in Offshore Wind Power Technician training.