New Jersey is poised to make a big impact on the country's efforts to establish domestic, sustainable, clean energy resources through wind power. Thanks to grant funding from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) will soon offer affordable and accessible degree and certificate pathways that will prepare graduates for success in an industry full of growth and promise.
New Jersey's location in the heart of the “East Coast Wind Belt" has perfectly positioned the state to generate a projected 30% of all offshore wind energy produced along the East Coast. Two new offshore wind farm projects will soon be joining the existing Ocean Wind I site along the Atlantic City coastline – Ocean Wind II and Atlantic Shores – generating an estimated additional 7,000 full- and part-time jobs across the region.
RCSJ is a proud recipient of the NJEDA's “NJ Wind Turbine Tech Training Challenge," a competitive grant program to create educational opportunities for New Jersey residents seeking to enter the offshore wind industry. In collaboration with the NJEDA and the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education; academic partners Cumberland County Technical Education Center, Gloucester County Institute of Technology and Rowan University; South Jersey labor unions and global training powerhouse, Maersk Training, RCSJ is developing degree and certificate programs that will provide entry into this lucrative and rapidly growing industry.
“We are pleased that the College's grant proposal was selected by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Rowan College of South Jersey is ready to do our part to advance the offshore wind efforts in New Jersey," stated Dr. Frederick Keating, president of RCSJ. “With the support of our academic and industry partners, we are committed to developing and launching credentialed training programs to meet the labor market demands offshore wind facilities bring to the state. These stackable certificates and degrees will open doors for our students into a burgeoning new industry full of opportunity."
Wind turbine technician ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of “Best Maintenance and Repair Jobs for 2022," and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has proclaimed it the second-fastest growing occupation in the country, with a projected 68% increase in job growth by 2030 and a median annual salary of $56,230. Options and salaries only increase for those who pursue an advanced degree, with opportunities for aerospace, electrical and civil engineers, atmospheric scientists, wildlife biologists, logisticians and the many other professionals needed to power the wind energy industry.
Guided by Maersk Training, a company with nine years of experience training wind turbine technicians all over the globe and the proud owner of the world's first Global Wind Organization (GWO)-certified training facility, RCSJ's program development is well underway. The College will offer a GWO-certified Basic Technical Training credential along with a Wind Turbine Technician Career Certificate program (provided in cooperation with Atlantic Cape Community College) that leads to a credit-bearing, stackable credential at the profession's entry level. Those interested in a management track can proceed to a 36-credit academic certificate with a registered apprenticeship component and then onto to a Wind Turbine Technician Associate of Applied Science degree – enabling students to customize their level of education to the requirements of their desired job.
“Maersk Training is very excited to partner with Rowan College of South Jersey. With over 40 years of experience, we are committed to supporting the local workforce's development and providing the best training possible to support the offshore wind industry," remarked Alex Øbell Nielsen, head of Business Development for Global Wind at Maersk Training. “We would like to congratulate the College on its $1 million award through the New Jersey Turbine Tech Training Challenge. We would also like to congratulate NJEDA on this initiative, as workforce development is key in supporting the ambitious targets for offshore wind set forth by the state of New Jersey."
Additional academic support will come from the College's premier educational partner, Rowan University. Students in RCSJ's Wind Turbine Technician programs will be welcomed into the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Institute on Rowan University's West Campus for hands-on learning surrounding aspects of blade design and repair. Graduates of RCSJ's associate degree program will have the option to pursue a bachelor's degree through a hassle-free transfer into Rowan University's own wind industry programs, with pathways currently under development in Engineering and Environmental Science.
“RCSJ's Wind Turbine Technician program will help to ensure New Jersey's talent pipeline remains strong and is poised to meet emerging opportunities created the state's growing offshore wind industry," said Jen Becker, Managing Director of the NJEDA's Wind Institute Development. “We are thrilled to support RCSJ's offshore wind education efforts, which will be instrumental in achieving Governor Phil Murphy's goal for positioning New Jersey as a national leader in offshore wind."
RCSJ plans to launch its Basic Technical Training and Wind Turbine Technician certificate programs in January 2023. The Associate of Applied Science degree will follow in September 2023. For more information, contact Career & Technical Education dean, Brigette Satchell at [email protected].