The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters celebrated its first graduating class at the new EAS Commercial Dive Center, located in Sicklerville, last week. This facility is the first union-owned and -operated dive school in the country and is a major leap forward in the workforce development necessary for energy infrastructure and the emerging offshore wind industry.
Graduates received certificates for completion of hands-on underwater training and diving safety requirements to help better prepare them for their future in an evolving workforce.
Opened in the spring of 2022, the state-of-the-art facility, located on an existing lake, features classrooms, offices, a dock, underwater welding stations and a decompression chamber. As New Jersey emerges as a growing hub for the offshore wind industry, the new EAS Commercial Dive Center provides the most up-to-date, hands-on training to EAS Carpenters Union members. This skillset gives onshore and offshore contractors the competitive edge to bid any job.
“Keeping up with an ever-growing industry requires continuous investment in educational resources,” William Sproule, executive secretary-treasurer of EAS Carpenters Union, said. “Our first-ever Commercial Dive Center class is the last piece of the renewable energy puzzle that represents innovation in training.”
The EAS Carpenters Union is in the final stages of becoming the only trade union in the U.S. to earn accreditation by the Association of Diving Contractors International.
In December, the EAS Carpenters Union Commercial Dive Center was also recognized with Oceantic Network’s Ventus Award for Supply Chain Advancement in the Public Sector category. The award is widely acknowledged as the highest level of professional recognition among trailblazers ushering in the global adoption of offshore wind energy.
In addition, Eastern Atlantic States Carpenters Tech became the first trade school in the U.S. to achieve a Global Wind Organisation certification. A GWO certification is vital to ensure the safety of members in offshore wind energy construction.
“Dive training has been traditionally limited for the carpenter’s union because it lacked a dedicated facility, requiring costly partnerships, but now we are able to offer a four-year program at the 10,000-square-foot facility free of charge for our members and apprentices,” Timothy Waring, training coordinator of EAS Carpenters Tech, said. “As New Jersey and the nation invest more heavily in constructing offshore wind farms to produce electricity, this graduation marks an exciting milestone for the EAS Carpenters Union and its graduating class.”
“I was thrilled to be able to join the Carpenters to see firsthand how they are training our evolving workforce,” Assemblyman Cody Miller (D-Gloucester County) said. “These highly-trained divers are uniquely equipped with skills and knowledge to help keep them employed and contributing members of our sustainable energy solutions.”