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Tsongas bill in support of American offshore wind jobs heard before Natural Resources subcommittee

WASHINGTON – June 28, 2018 – This week, H.R. 5291, the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, legislation to educate and train a new generation of American offshore wind workers, received broad bipartisan support during a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

The new federal grant program created by this legislation will assist colleges and universities, unions, state and local governments,  and nonprofits develop curricula, internships, health and safety programs, and other activities deemed appropriate by the Secretaries of Interior, Energy, Labor,  and Education to develop an offshore wind workforce. The bill prioritizes grants to community colleges, organizations that service minority populations and veterans, and those helping workers from other industries transition to the offshore wind industry.

“As we heard at our bipartisan subcommittee hearing yesterday, offshore wind is broadly recognized as our nation’s next great energy resource, one that has the potential to create tens of thousands of quality, family-sustaining new jobs in manufacturing, logistics, engineering, construction, and long-term operations and maintenance of these projects,” said Tsongas, a member of House Committee on Natural Resources. “We heard this from all of our witnesses, which included a Trump Administration official, a labor union representative, a state clean energy director, and experts in offshore energy logistics and manufacturing. We also heard about the significant overlap between the offshore wind industry and jobs in the oil and gas industry, and how collaboration across the two industries can help develop our offshore wind workforce.”

Tsongas continued: “Unions and states like Massachusetts are investing their own resources into workforce development, but if we want to secure global leadership, the federal government must be a stronger partner and help our nation increase the pace of development of a robust offshore wind workforce. My legislation helps us meet that goal and fill existing workforce development gaps.”

Congresswoman Tsongas invited Stephen Pike, CEO of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, to testify in favor of the bill before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

“Offshore wind presents a rare opportunity to establish a new industry in the United States – one that provides cost-effective clean renewable energy, economic development, and jobs,” said Pike. “Providing local workers access to critical training programs will ensure that we can develop a workforce – both in Massachusetts and across the Northeast region – ready and able to fully participate in this emerging industry, and the legislation proposed by Congresswoman Tsongas offers vital support toward this effort.”

Congresswoman Tsongas introduced the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act in March with Congressman Bill Keating (D-MA) and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). The bill is now ready for consideration by the full House Committee on Natural Resources.

For bill text:

For video of Rep. Tsongas questioning Stephen Pike during hearing: