The state of Virginia is getting its first onshore and offshore wind workforce training collaborative, the Mid-Atlantic Wind Training Alliance, slated to start offering programs in early 2021. Involved parties are the New College Institute—also the host institution—Centura College and the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy.
The program created by the partnership will offer courses certified by the Global Wind Organization and National Center for Construction, Education and Research, as well as industry-required certifications that are essential to the operations and long-term maintenance of wind projects. Course offerings will include a wide variety of wind energy-related disciplines and provide students with a customizable portfolio of training options. More so, programs will range from specific certifications to a year-long wind turbine technician program that bundles several industry-recognized certifications and prepares students to become certified installation technicians, inspectors and maintenance technicians. In fact, researchers at Chmura Analytics forecast that wind turbine service technician is Virginia’s top employment growth career for the next five years.
The wind industry in the U.S. reported 120,000 jobs in 2019, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The organization also estimated that the wind industry has invested more than $208 billion in wind projects across the country, with the capacity to produce 109 gigawatts of power to date. Furthermore, Dominion Energy and Avangrid Renewables have nearly 400 offshore wind turbines under development off the coast of Virginia and North Carolina.