UMass Dartmouth, Bristol Community College and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy have reached an agreement to work together in preparing the region for the impending offshore wind industry.

The three institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding today called Connect4Wind, the first time the three have entered into a cross-collaborative agreement of this kind.

John Hoey, Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs for UMass Dartmouth, told WBSM News the purpose of the agreement is "to really organize an array of all the educational and research assets that we all have to accelerate the development of the offshore wind industry across the region."

"We all have different assets and strengths in these areas, and we want to make sure that they're all being used to their maximum impact, as this emerging industry starts to take shape in the region," Hoey said.

Hoey said there are two recent examples of how the institutions have already begun working together.

"One is right now, we are working with Bristol Community College to improve, enhance and accelerate a Bristol Community College student's ability to transfer to UMass Dartmouth upon completion of their Associate's Degree," Hoey said. "Another example is our Public Policy Center recently completed, in collaboration with Bristol Community College and others, a major offshore wind energy workforce analysis, really illustrating the real impacts and needs around workforce development and job creation related to the offshore wind industry."

According to a release, the US Department of Energy estimates 43,000 new jobs will be created in the offshore wind market by 2030. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center recently published an assessment of the jobs and economic impacts associated with development of 1,600 megawatts in Massachusetts. That study estimated that over the next decade, offshore wind farms will create nearly 3,000 jobs and generate economic impacts between $1.2 billion and $2.1 billion in the region.

The Connect4Wind creates a framework for cooperative efforts, and specifically includes:

· Student Participation: Inclusion in degree or non-degree granting offshore wind academic programs at each partner institution.

· Research Collaborations: Each institution will encourage research collaborations in areas of mutual interest.

· Visit of Faculty Members: An institution’s faculty members will submit teaching or research proposals for establishing visiting lectures, presentations and services at partner institutions.

· Shared Facility Utilization: Parties will identify specific teaching and research facilities to be made available for the utilization at their respective institutions.

"Our goal for this agreement is to have Bristol Community College, Mass Maritime and UMass Dartmouth really engaged in determining what other tangible collaborations we can put into effect," Hoey said. "We want to really accelerate the development of the industry here in a way that positions people in this region to get jobs, and be prepared for those jobs as they emerge."