Offshore wind represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for New Jersey. This new industry offers us a chance to revitalize our economy, foster innovation and promote our skilled workforce. It means thousands of good-paying union jobs for New Jersey workers while moving us one huge step closer to a clean energy future. And, yet, the rampant spread of misinformation continues, threatening progress and putting all of this at risk. It’s time to set the record straight.
The spread of misinformation and unfounded claims about offshore wind is a calculated move. It’s not meant to help working people in our state or to help the environment. The goal of this misinformation campaign is to create uncertainty; to confuse the public when, in reality, there’s nothing to be confused about.
It’s time we start focusing on the facts. Let’s start with one that is clear and unequivocal: There is zero evidence from any credited agency or organization that the development of offshore wind is harming or killing marine mammals. Offshore wind opponents have gotten way too much mileage from this claim, despite having no proof to support it.
Here is another fact: There absolutely is evidence that the offshore wind industry will have a real impact on New Jersey’s workforce. We know because we are seeing the results. Apprenticeships, vocational training and higher education initiatives have already equipped our workforce with the skills necessary for offshore wind jobs. The success of workforce development programs is evident in the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development‘s clean energy jobs program, which, in conjunction with just one utility, has already placed over 2,200 New Jersey residents in jobs and provided training to more than 100 minority-owned small business owners to support the clean energy economy.
This is why the Carpenter Contractor Trust supports the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters‘ stance on investing in the preparation of the workforce for the offshore wind industry. Through apprenticeships led by experts at state-of-the-art training facilities, apprentices are equipped with the essential skills to build an offshore wind sector from the ground up. The expansion of the Thomas C. Ober Carpenters Training Center in Hammonton underscores our unwavering commitment to workforce development and creating jobs for New Jerseyans. This state-of-the-art facility focuses on hands-on training, perfectly aligning with the forthcoming coastal construction boom driven by offshore wind. Our contractor partners also benefit from this extensive training, as it provides them with a stronger, more equipped workforce that can get the job done safely and efficiently.
These jobs are not fleeting; they represent the commitment to sustained economic stability for our members and several other trades. Beyond immediate gains, the projected 20,000 new jobs related to offshore wind, from both in-state and regional demand, offer a sustainable and resilient future. New Jersey’s embrace of offshore wind energy can serve as an economic catalyst, fostering a thriving industry that not only creates jobs today but continues to do so for years to come.
The Carpenter Contractor Trust offers support to entrepreneurial-minded members by providing training to carpenters interested in starting their own contracting business. This is not only important for community success, but continues education of soft and hard business skills for our members. The CCT offers an educational pipeline that trains and guides members and small contractors through the process of becoming and growing as a contractor. We offer programs ranging from consultations with businesses and financial planners to targeted seminars on specific aspects of a contracting business.
We have followed along as baseless arguments have been leveled against the offshore wind industry about marine mammals and other fabricated issues, but we cannot stand by and let this misguided information slow or halt an industry that has so much to offer New Jersey’s economy and our workforce. We can’t allow this false narrative to continue at the expense of working men and women in this state. Let’s end the reign of misinformation and seize this moment to ensure a cleaner and more prosperous future for New Jersey.
Cyndie Williams is the executive director at Carpenter Contractor Trust.