Initiatives Will Create Offshore Wind Fellowship Program and Support Universities to Deepen Industry Expertise
RENTON, N.J. (March 31, 2022) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced plans to provide a total of more than $1 million to Rutgers University, Rowan University, Montclair State University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to advance academic research and investment in offshore wind workforce training. Specifically, the NJEDA Board authorized staff to enter into memoranda of understanding with the universities to develop both the NJ Wind Institute Fellowship Program (Fellowship Program) and the University Initiatives to Advance Offshore Wind (University Initiatives).
In its pilot year, the Fellowship Program is expected to support 24 graduate and undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines with stipends and resources as they conduct independent research on topics that will further offshore wind development in New Jersey. Selected students will participate as a cohort in workshops, site visits, and guest lectures with industry stakeholders and have the chance to present their research to government, academic and industry experts at the end of their Fellowship.
The University Initiatives will be designed to provide long-term, industry valued expertise for students, faculty, and staff. Potential initiatives can include new curriculum development, pre- and post-doctoral student positions, faculty training in offshore wind, or other activities that support offshore wind learning.
Both the Fellowship Program and University Initiatives are expected to begin this year. Students interested in learning more about these programs should contact their university’s career services office.
Governor Phil Murphy recently proposed dedicating $5 million in funding for the NJ Wind Institute for Innovation and Training in the state’s 2023 Fiscal Year Budget.
“Our partnership with these four leading New Jersey research institutions will ensure that the Garden State’s offshore wind sector is best positioned for growth and industry leadership,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The Governor’s allocation for the NJ Wind Institute for Innovation and Training in the upcoming budget serves as a testament to the state’s commitment to accelerating economic growth, meeting our clean energy goals, and investing in a robust, diverse, and experienced workforce.”
Managing Director of Wind Institute Development Jenifer Becker echoed Sullivan’s sentiments about the benefits the Fellowship Program and University Initiatives will have on New Jersey’s economy.
“These initiatives will allow us to capitalize on one of New Jersey’s greatest assets – its research universities – to build a pipeline of industry experts in the offshore wind sector,” said Jen Becker, Managing Director of Wind Institute Development. “This pool of trained talent will be a vital resource as New Jersey continues on its path toward becoming a global leader in this high-growth industry. We look forward to working in collaboration with the Legislature to establish the Wind Institute.”
The NJEDA will utilize funding from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) to fund both the Fellowship Program and the University Initiatives.
“New Jersey has made significant strides in leveraging the state’s knowledge and talent to fuel the clean technology economy under Governor Murphy’s leadership,” said New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “Today’s announcement will directly strengthen New Jersey’s research and development initiatives, while expanding its offshore wind workforce.”
The New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education has been a key partner to the NJEDA in its work to ensure that students and workers have the tools they need to compete for offshore wind jobs.
“Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey continues to invest in higher education programs and partnerships that spur innovation and increase access to opportunity for students of all backgrounds,” said Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges. “The NJ Wind Institute will utilize the talents of our students, faculty, and research institutions to further develop New Jersey as a national leader in offshore wind.”
Each university will play a unique role in the development and implementation of the Fellowship and/or Initiative announced today.
“The collaboration with NJEDA and the NJ Wind Institute on the fellowship program will advance educational and scientific research opportunities for our students and faculty as they work to improve both the economy and our environment,” said Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway. “As home to the New Jersey Clean Energy Resource Network, Rutgers remains committed to ensuring that businesses in the clean energy sector can grow and prosper in New Jersey.”
“Higher education must adapt quickly to not only meet the needs of this generation, but the generations to follow,” said Rowan University President Ali A. Houshmand. “Investing in sustainability education through our partnership with NJEDA and the NJ Wind Institute ensures that Rowan University students and our faculty can play a prominent role in reshaping the future of our state and planet.”
“Montclair State University – with its deep commitment to serving the public interest and advancing student success – has an opportunity to define the future,” said Montclair State University President Jonathan Koppell. “This collaboration with the NJEDA and the NJ Wind Institute will build on the great work being done by our Clean Energy and Sustainability Analytics Center and provide our students, faculty, and staff with the resources required to continue engaging in bold, imaginative research projects dedicated to bettering our environment.”
“NJIT remains dedicated to prioritizing research and creating opportunities that benefit the public sector,” said NJIT President Joel S. Bloom. “NJIT is proud to partner with NJEDA and the NJ Wind Institute as we work together to fund, develop, and cultivate research projects that grow New Jersey’s offshore wind sector, further economic opportunity and social mobility, and better our environment for generations to come.”