Sen. Markey reintroduces bill to develop offshore wind workforce

Published on November 08, 2023 by Dave Kovaleski

© Shutterstock

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) recently reintroduced legislation that would support offshore wind workforce development through a new grant program.

With the goal of helping the Biden administration achieve its goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act would do several things. First, it would direct the Secretary of Labor to identify the offshore wind industry’s workforce needs. Then, based on this workforce gap analysis, the Labor Secretary would establish a grant program in consultation with the Secretary of Energy to support the training of both new and current workers, provide tuition financing, and support apprenticeship programs.

Ultimately, the goal is to create thousands of union jobs in coastal communities through apprenticeship programs, maritime centers of excellence, and institutions of higher education.

“Billions of dollars in clean energy investments are being unlocked from the Inflation Reduction Act, including my Offshore Wind American Manufacturing Act. We must ensure that our offshore wind workforce is ready,” Markey said. “The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act would prepare workers with the skills and training needed to supercharge our grid with clean energy powered by offshore wind. I will continue to push for the winds of change to blow off the shores of Massachusetts and other coastal communities throughout the nation so that our workers can benefit from this clean energy force.”

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Tim Kaine (D-VA).

“There is much work to be done to bring offshore wind online effectively and efficiently — that includes ensuring we have access to talent,” Whitehouse said. “Our legislation will invest in job training programs to prepare the next generation of workers to fill well-paying jobs that help meet America’s offshore wind goals.”

The legislation has the support of several groups, including the AFL-CIO, the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), and the American Clean Power Association.

“Senator Markey’s Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act is a positive step toward achieving a sustainable energy future by promoting a strong and experienced workforce for the offshore wind industry,” Jason Grumet, CEO of the American Clean Power Association, said. “With the right support and investment, we can address the current American mariner shortage and revitalize coastal communities.”

Market is the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety and a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.