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Kingsborough Community College receives $1.5M in funding for offshore wind training program

October 27, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
The Kingsborough Community College lighthouse
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Kingsborough Community College’s Maritime Technology program is on its way to becoming a certified offshore wind (OSW) basic safety training facility, with $1.5 million in capital funding awarded by the New York City Council.  

And, because New York State allocates matching funds for capital appropriations provided by the city to CUNY community colleges, Kingsborough is expected to receive another $1.5 million in the state’s next fiscal budget, bringing the total to $3 million.

The Office of NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson awarded Kingsborough’s Division of Workforce Development, Continuing Education & Strategic Partnerships the funding for purchase of necessary equipment to become a Global Wind Organization (GWO)-certified Basic Safety Training facility that can respond to the workforce demands and the long-term needs of the projected OSW industry. 

In January of this year, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) OK’d a proposal by a private energy firm, Equinor, to turn the semi-dormant South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park into a hub for staging and assembling wind-power equipment. Once assembled, the wind turbines will be installed at two “wind farm” sites off the coast of Long Island. 

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Wind turbines spin to generate electrical power in Atlantic City. AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File

This plan was enthusiastically approved by many local activists and officials, including Elizabeth Yeampierre of the environmental organization UPROSE, City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and others.

Many offshore wind companies mandate GWO-certified baseline safety training for their employees. The awarded funding will establish Kingsborough, Brooklyn’s only community college, as the first institution in New York State to be a certified GWO training provider.

NYS Assemblymember Jaime R. William (D-Marine Park-Bergen Beach-Canarsie) spearheaded the push to get city and state leaders to support the innovative conception of an OSW training facility at Kingsborough.

“The need for clean energy is more important than ever. With initiatives promoted by our great State and the City of New York, the use of turbines only a few miles offshore will have a drastic and positive impact on our growing energy needs, while helping foster new jobs for Kingsborough Community College students and bolster our infrastructure. 

“The turbines, once in place, will assist with New York State’s clean energy targets as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) and help further achieve New York City’s goal and commitment to reduce citywide emissions—a win for all involved,” said Assemblymember Williams.

Kingsborough President Dr. Claudia V. Schrader said the college is grateful for the funds. “Our location makes us uniquely positioned to be an integral partner in the OSW sector, and the funding will enable us to serve more under and unemployed students preparing for careers within the OSW industry. Thank you to Assemblymember Williams for her support and Council Speaker Johnson for investing in CUNY/KCC.”

Assemblymember Jaime Williams (D-Southeast Brooklyn). Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

GWO Basic Safety Training provides students with fundamental work skills, including fire awareness, first aid, working at heights, and manual handling. “Currently, KCC offers four of the five needed trainings of GWO. This funding will help support the addition of the climbing-at-heights component, which may be in place as early as fall 2022,” said Christine Zagari-LoPorto, interim assistant dean of Kingsborough’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education.

To enable students to work in the offshore environment, an additional GWO Sea Survival training, which Kingsborough has in place, needs to be completed.  Upon completing the training, students will be aware of the hazards encountered when working within the wind industry and how to control and mitigate these hazards. 

Founded in 1963, Kingsborough Community College is Brooklyn’s only community college and is part of the City University of New York.

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