Maryland is poised to become a hub for offshore wind training, fabrication and employment using $22.9 in federal funds to create the Maryland Works for Wind program.
And Salisbury could be poised to become a key spoke in that hub, especially in the areas of training and fabrication.
Gov. Larry Hogan, along with federal officials, announced the state was one of 32 winners out of more than 500 applicants to be awarded grants through the American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge.
The grant will allow the Maryland Department of Labor to implement a new apprenticeship model to support the region’s growing offshore wind industry.
“This funding will ensure that Maryland employers and jobseekers stand ready to meet the demands of the flourishing offshore wind industry, which is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs in the state of Maryland and yield an economic impact of nearly $3 billion over the next 20 years in the Baltimore area and Central Maryland alone,” said Hogan.
The state will work In partnership with leading employers including Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Crystal Steel Fabricators in Federalsburg and Orsted Offshore North America which is developing Skipjack Wind, a 966-megawatt offshore wind project off the Maryland and Delaware coastline that will create nearly 1,400 jobs in the Delmarva region.
The Maryland Works For Wind program will build a training model that meets the needs of employers and local communities. With a focus on formerly incarcerated individuals, veterans, disconnected youth, and other underserved populations, the Department of Labor will train thousands of individuals to enter well-paying jobs in the industry.
Overall, Maryland Works for Wind will place and/or upskill more than 4,300 Marylanders, strategically leverage $30 million in state and employer resources, and foster economic activity in 18 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions.Orsted officials commended the U.S. Department of Commerce and state of Maryland for the investment in the state’s offshore wind workforce training and pledged to work closely with state leaders to prepare Maryland residents for its offshore wind workforce.
“Orsted is proud to be making significant commitments to develop supply chain, manufacturing, and operations capabilities across Maryland as we develop Skipjack Wind,” said David Hardy, CEO of Orsted Offshore North America. “The Maryland Works for Wind initiative positions the state to build a pipeline of skilled talent to support Skipjack Wind’s development and other projects in the U.S. and globally. Orsted is excited to work with the Maryland Department of Labor and its partners to ensure all Marylanders have access to the skills needed to secure good-paying jobs in offshore wind.”
Orsted will invest nearly $735 million in Maryland and create thousands of local jobs during Skipjack Wind’s development and operation. As part of this effort, Orsted is committing $10 million to STEM education and workforce development programs in Maryland. These programs will convene Maryland colleges, universities, community colleges, school systems, registered apprenticeship programs, pre-apprenticeship programs and community organizations to ensure the industry’s immense opportunities are available equitably and sustainably.
Building on Orsted’s landmark agreement with the North American Building Trades Union, and the Baltimore-D.C. Metro Building and Construction Trades Council, Orsted is committed to working in partnership with organized labor to build Skipjack Wind’s onshore and offshore construction, and ensure those who are building this clean energy infrastructure are paid decent wages, work in a safe environment, and have a voice on the job.
On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Orsted entered into a $70 million supply agreement to establish Maryland’s first offshore wind steel fabrication center at Crystal Steel Fabricators and will construct Maryland’s first zero-emissions operations and maintenance facility in west Ocean City.