January 30, 2019

MassCEC’s Learn and Earn Event at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal

Andrea Rota

On August 1, 2018, over 100 high school students from New Bedford High School, Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School, Norfolk County Agricultural High School, Malden High School and John D. O’Bryant High School (partnered with Northeastern University) visited MassCEC’s New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal to learn about opportunities in the offshore wind industry and tour the facility.  The students, all of whom are participating in the summer work component of MassCEC’s Learn and Earn program,  enjoyed presentations given by MassCEC, Vineyard Wind, Bristol Community College and Massachusetts Maritime Academy, who introduced jobs and career paths in the industry.  The common theme was that the jobs are here, and the offshore wind developers need a dedicated workforce to help propel the industry forward. Whether students are interested in engineering, construction, maritime operations, business, or law, there are job opportunities in offshore wind.  

MassCEC’s Learn and Earn program was created to advance student enrollment in Clean Energy/STEM fields through academic curriculum and training programs for work and college readiness. The program aids the clean energy industry by satisfying the need for a talented, long-term workforce by enticing students with opportunities and experiences in the growing field. After completing the program, the students will be equipped with the tools and experience necessary to excel in the industry. At the event, MassCEC announced the schools participating in the next round of the Learn and Earn program: Greater Lawrence Technical School, Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School and Norfolk County Agricultural High School.

MassCEC’s CEO, Stephen Pike, kicked off the event with a short quiz given to five students with questions related to the industry. The students showed off their smarts by earning a perfect score! The mic was then passed to MassCEC’s Senior Director of Offshore Wind Sector Development, Bill White, who explained more about offshore wind and how Massachusetts is leading the development of the U.S. offshore wind industry, with many job opportunities to come. Vineyard Wind’s Nate Mayo then spoke about the deployment of turbines from the Terminal and how Vineyard Wind’s 800MW will be able to power over 400,000 homes in Massachusetts.

The presentations moved forward with Bristol Community College (BCC) and Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) both gauging student interest by discussing academic degrees and programs that will allow students to join the workforce in an accelerated way. BCC encouraged students to pursue a two-year degree or a one-year certification program, while MMA spoke about their new training platform for offshore wind technicians to be fully qualified to enter the industry.  Many of the students asked meaningful – and tough – questions, and were enthusiastic to take next steps toward their careers.

Following the presentations, the students were given a tour of the Terminal by Bill White and Terminal Manager Greg Dolan. By learning and understanding the role the Terminal plays in the development of offshore wind, the students continued to build their foundational knowledge that will help them to pursue jobs in the STEM/ Clean Energy Fields – and hopefully convince a few to become future MassCEC Terminal staff!

MassCEC is excited to continue the Learn and Earn program to include more schools and students that will benefit from the educational experiences offered. This hands-on learning, paired with academic training, will equip students for the demanding workforce and the career opportunities ahead.