In a solid example of the state working with the school system to create jobs (and careers) for the future, the board of the N.J. Economic Development Authority announced this week that it will provide up to $200,000 to the Salem County Vocational Technical School to support programs geared toward the offshore wind industry that is coming to South Jersey.
Under the agreement, the EDA’s grant will support the school’s offshore wind-related painting and welding programs – as well as the expansion of other programs that will prepare students and workers for jobs in heavy steel offshore wind component manufacturing.
EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the training will lead to solid careers with strong pay, enabling the area’s residents take advantage of this growth industry.
“NJEDA’s support of offshore wind programs at SCVTS is part of our efforts to ensure New Jersey’s pipeline of skilled workers keeps pace with growing demand from the high-growth offshore wind industry,” he said.
Sullivan said the EDA will help to fund equipment, materials, instructor time and other expenses required to train secondary and post-secondary students for the specific skills required for large scale steel component manufacturing.
Salem County Commissioner Director Ben Laury said the agreement will have real impact.
“Since the beginning of this process, the NJEDA has been committed to making sure that Salem County residents are given the opportunity for employment at the Wind Port facility,” he said. “The Board of Commissioners is pleased to see that commitment manifest in an investment for SCVTS and its students.”
SCVTS Superintendent John Swain agreed.
“NJEDA’s commitment to funding these growing programs is an investment in the future of our local workforce,” he said. “Training and reskilling workers will prepare them for high-quality offshore wind career opportunities that will sustain our families and communities well into the future.”
Jen Becker, managing director of Wind Institute Development, said this is the type of partnership that is coveted by many.
“This agreement will result in opportunities for high school students and adult learners to gain the specialized skills needed for jobs in the offshore wind large-scale steel component manufacturing sector,” she said.
This agreement complements a similar agreement signed with the Gloucester County Institute of Technology last December. The agreement utilizes funding from a memorandum of understanding between EDA and the N.J. Board of Public Utilities to support offshore wind training and research initiatives.