Sunrise Wind invests in New York’s capital region workers training for union construction careers in clean energy

Source: press release, 10 August 2022

photo: Ørsted
photo: Ørsted

Alongside New York Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado and state economic and labour leaders, Sunrise Wind announced it will commit USD 300,000 to recruit and train workers in Albany’s South End neighbourhood for union construction careers critical to the clean energy transition.

The program represents a strategic partnership with the Center for Economic Growth. Sunrise Wind is a joint venture offshore wind project between Ørsted, the leading US offshore wind energy partner, and Eversource, New England’s largest energy provider and experts in regional energy transmission. Today’s announcement demonstrates Ørsted and Eversource’s commitment to supporting job creation in disadvantaged communities, a key tenant of the New York State’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

The funding comes from the USD 1 million Upper Hudson Workforce Development Fund created by the Sunrise Wind project and will be used to fund the Multi-Craft Apprenticeship Preparation Program (M.A.P.P.), a pre-apprenticeship program that recruits and trains workers for unionised construction apprenticeships. M.A.P.P. aims to recruit low-income and workers of colour from the Capital Region, providing a path to family-sustaining careers while bringing more diversity to the building trades. The new funding will cover pay, training and emergency financial needs for program participants, who will enrol over the course of 2022 and 2023. With this support, 15-20 participants will enrol in 2022 and another 15-20 in 2023.

In close partnership with the Greater Capital Region Building & Construction Trades Council, M.A.P.P. offers qualified, interested candidates an opportunity to gain training and experience that will enable them to successfully navigate a union construction apprenticeship program. This program offers structured work- and classroom-based learning that can propel apprentices into long, stable careers with family-sustaining wages and benefits. M.A.P.P. was founded in Rochester, NY and recently began operations in Albany’s South End neighbourhood.

“The M.A.P.P. apprenticeship program will provide new opportunities for underserved New Yorkers to not only access good-paying union jobs, but also to make a difference in their environment,” says Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “Offshore wind is powering our future, helping us reach our clean energy goals, and providing stable careers for those who have been underrepresented in the workforce.”

“Today’s announcement is a critical milestone in developing our growing New York State offshore wind workforce and another key step in ensuring that building our green economy means delivering benefits to communities that have been historically left behind,” says Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “This investment in the Capital Region is another invaluable contribution from Ørsted and Eversource and will help to build a pipeline of talent for the family-sustaining jobs that will allow our clean energy economy to thrive.”

“I’ve often spoken of the incredible opportunities in job development and economic growth presented by investing boldly in offshore wind,” Congressman Paul Tonko says. “Today’s exciting announcement will have significant, lasting benefits for our Capital Region communities by creating pathways to good-paying jobs for workers from historically disadvantaged communities and driving forward our transition to clean energy. My gratitude to Ørsted, Eversource, CEG, and all those involved in this project. I remain committed to fighting in Congress for federal policies that will ensure that offshore wind plays a central role in our nation’s cleaner and more equitable economy of the future.”

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says, “This is a long-awaited and exciting opportunity that will provide job training and sustainable unionised employment opportunities to low-income residents and people of colour from Albany’s South End neighbourhood. I want to thank Governor Hochul, Lieutenant Governor Delgado, the Greater Capital Region Building and Construction Trades Council, Ørsted, Sunrise Wind, Eversource, the Center for Economic Growth, and M.A.P.P. for collaborating on this project that simultaneously creates new jobs, highlights New York’s continued leadership in clean energy, and stimulates economic development. The City of Albany, through our Albany Community Development Agency, is proud to have recently provided more than $300,000 to M.A.P.P. to purchase their building and help create a model for how a private and public partnership can provide job training and creation for residents of historically underserved neighbourhoods, and this additional investment by Sunrise Wind makes it clear we are well on our way to achieving that goal.”

After being accepted to the program, participants will first work in paid positions under skilled supervision to rehabilitate homes and other community sites to develop their trade skills before enrolling in M.A.P.P. for additional skilled classroom-based education. After graduating, participants are offered “direct entry”, a New York State Department of Labor facilitated pathway to sought-after union apprenticeship programs.

Sunrise Wind will require hundreds of skilled workers to build and install the project, including the construction of advanced foundation components and other work at the Port of Coeymans. The project will enter negotiations with New York State contractors and trade labour organisations on a Project Labor Agreement to cover construction activities for Sunrise Wind and is committed to paying prevailing wages.

The announcement is one of many commitments already being recognised for New York workers and businesses as part of the Sunrise Wind project. Last year, Ørsted and Eversource signed an USD 86 million supply chain contract with Riggs Distler & Company, Inc. to construct advanced foundation components for wind turbines at the Port of Coeymans, and the project will offer business development and employment opportunities from Western New York to the East End of Long Island.

Sunrise Wind will be one of the largest US offshore wind farms and located more than 30 miles east of Montauk Point, interconnecting to the grid in Brookhaven, NY. The 924-megawatt project will generate enough clean energy to power nearly 600,000 New York homes and is expected to be operational in 2025.