N.K. Chamber gets $375K for new high school offshore wind certification program

Updated 11:08 a.m. Tuesday

RHODE ISLAND is starting a Career and Technical Education certification in offshore wind for high school students thanks to $375,000 in federal funding. Pictured is the Block Island Wind Farm. / COURTESY ORSTED US OFFSHORE WIND

NORTH KINGSTOWN – Rhode Island high school students will soon be able to earn a certificate proving their ability to work in the offshore wind industry thanks to new federal funding.

The $375,000 in direct congressional spending for the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce announced by U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., on Monday will pave the way for a new Career and Technical Education certification in offshore wind energy, according to a press release.

“Thanks in large part to this federal funding, Rhode Island high school students will soon be able to graduate with a credential to help them land a well-paying job in the growing offshore wind industry,” Whitehouse said in a statement.

The certification program builds upon a first-of-its-kind program started in 2018 by the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce, which has offered a four-year offshore wind certification program known as WindWinRI to students at select high schools. 

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The chamber will work with state education leaders and industry partners to develop the curriculum for the certification program, according to Kristin Urbach, the chamber’s executive director.

“This will provide the state of Rhode Island a robust talent pipeline starting with high school graduates,” Urbach said in a statement.  “Additionally, this supports Rhode Island’s Blue Economy initiative.” 

The chamber also plans to design new offshore wind-related education programs for middle and elementary school students, the release stated. 

(Update: Federal funding went to North Kingstown Chamber clarified in 2nd paragraph and headline)

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Lavin@PBN.com.

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