CCRI, Gov. McKee, and state leaders celebrate opening of offshore wind safety training center
Governor Dan McKee and Speaker Joseph Shekarchi Wednesday joined CCRI’s Interim President Dr. Rosemary Costigan, Revolution Wind's joint-venture partners Ørsted and Eversource, along with Rhode Island state agencies and labor organizations, for a “topping-off” ceremony of the state’s first offshore wind safety training center at the Lincoln Campus.
Supported by a $1 million grant from Ørsted and Eversource, this new center is a partnership between CCRI, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Rhode Island Commerce, the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council, and Building Futures, and it will serve as the state's first Global Wind Organization (GWO) training certificate program – the international standard for offshore wind safety training. Workers enrolled in the program will receive training in first aid, manual handling, fire awareness, working at heights, and sea survival.
The topping-off ceremony is an important milestone to signal completion of the construction phase of this project. The center is slated to open to its first class of trainees in spring 2024.
The GWO program will be available to all workers seeking a GWO training certificate, which provides them with the specialized safety credentials required for working offshore. The course takes 44 hours to complete, and certification is valid for two years. GWO training is a critical component in ensuring safe working conditions and practices in the industry. Upon completion of the course, graduates will obtain the practical skills needed to perform their job safely and be prepared for the rigors of offshore work.
“Today’s topping off ceremony is more than the completion of a physical structure; it’s about completing a promise - a promise to our students, our community, and the future of Rhode Island. It symbolizes our commitment to providing quality education and training programs that align with the needs of emerging maritime technologies in the Ocean State,” said CCRI Interim President Rosemary A. Costigan. “CCRI Island looks forward to welcoming our first GWO cohort early in the new year and the contributions of those students to Rhode Island’s wind industry.”
"It's exciting day for Rhode Island as we top off the state's first offshore wind safety training center at CCRI," said Governor Dan McKee. "This unique partnership between higher education, labor, state government, Orsted and Eversource will help us strengthen Rhode Island's blue economy workforce and increase incomes."
“Rhode Island is leading the nation when it comes to environmental initiatives, with the passage of the Act on Climate and our state’s ambitious commitment to 100% renewable electricity by 2033,” said Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi. “As we transition to clean energy, new jobs are being created in the blue and green economies. I am so excited to help celebrate our state’s first Offshore Wind Safety Training Center, which will provide valuable training opportunities for our workforce to ensure that we’re ready to meet our emerging clean energy needs.”
“The Global Wind Organization training certification program is the gold-standard for offshore wind safety training, and the Community College of Rhode Island’s state-of-the-art facility will give workers exceptional training for a career in offshore wind,” said Patricia DiOrio, SVP, Head of Project Development, Region Americas, Ørsted. “The students passing through these doors will be a huge asset to Ørsted and the offshore renewable energy industry. Rhode Island is the birthplace of American offshore wind, and thanks to the support of Gov. McKee and our other partners, future generations of Rhode Islanders can look forward to family-sustaining careers in a critical industry of the 21st century.”
“A thriving offshore wind industry is about more than just clean energy and the environment – it’s about people. Rhode Island is leading by example in preparing its workforce to succeed in this burgeoning industry,” said Julia Bovey, Director of External Affairs, Offshore Wind for Eversource. “Offshore wind jobs are great jobs – with union labor at the core. The GWO facility at CCRI is the latest example of the joint commitment of government, private industry, high education and labor unions to progress offshore wind in Rhode Island.”
“The new facility will allow Rhode Islanders to earn the certifications they need right here in our home state to participate in Rhode Island’s growing industry – offshore wind. On behalf of the men and women of the RI Building and Construction Trades Council unions, I am thrilled to be part of today’s event and looking forward to our members earn the credentials to work on Ørsted’s Revolution Wind project here at the CCRI Lincoln Campus," said Michael F. Sabitoni, General Secretary-Treasurer of the Laborers International Union of North America and President of Rhode Island’s Building & Construction Trades Council.
“Today we celebrate expanding opportunities – having a Global Wind Organization accredited facility here allows Rhode Island workers to gain the credentials needed to construct Ørsted’s upcoming Revolution Wind project,” said Andrew L. Cortés, Executive Director of Building Futures. “Further, today speaks to the power of this partnership; with the State of Rhode Island, CCRI, Ørsted, the RI Building and Construction Trades Council and our community-based nonprofit, we are creating an access point to family-sustaining wage careers for our residents."
“Rhode Island is home to a strong and diverse offshore wind supply chain; the result of hard work, smart investments, and collaboration,” said RI Commerce Secretary Liz Tanner. “This specialized training program will allow us to create new high-quality jobs that will strengthen the state’s workforce and secure Rhode Island’s place as an innovative leader in the offshore wind industry.”
"The launch of this training facility means more trained workers who will be ready to enter an ever-evolving offshore wind sector, which is great news for Rhode Island. The DLT is proud to partner with everyone involved and I’m looking forward to the start of the first cohort of the Global Wind Organisation training program," said Department of Labor & Training Director Matt Director Weldon.