UMass Amherst Clean Energy Extension: Making Offshore Wind a More Accessible Career Option
To bring greater diversity to the workforce in the rapidly growing field of offshore wind, UMass Amherst Clean Energy Extension (CEE) – with support from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center – has established the Offshore Wind Career Access Scholarship. The program is designed to increase accessibility and diversity of CEE’s Offshore Wind Professional Certificate Program, an interdisciplinary 3-course graduate-level certificate that prepares professionals and graduates for careers in the offshore wind industry. The scholarship completely covers certificate tuition of approximately $6,000, and students receive professional development and one-on-one support in entering the offshore wind industry. This scholarship enables individuals from diverse backgrounds who have completed a bachelor’s degree to successfully prepare for and join the offshore wind industry.
To date,12 scholarships have been awarded, and three of the recipients have now graduated from the program and entered the workforce. Scholarship students have included six people of color, eight women, two veterans with disabilities, and residents of environmental justice communities. To design the program and develop outreach materials that would attract the diversity of applicants, the UMass Clean Energy Extension staff sought the support of UMass diversity-focused offices. The staff also sought the support of partners from diverse backgrounds with deep expertise in both social justice and industry workforce needs. Scholarship recipients have had great success landing jobs in offshore wind, contributing to diversity in that sector. For example, recent graduate Funmi Lawal is now a project cost engineer with Avangrid Renewables and Maryann Sourivong secured a position with the Narragansett Bay Commission. Several students have expressed an appreciation for how the cohort of scholarship recipients, certificate students as a whole, and program alumni serve as a cohesive network for sharing opportunities, professional support, and industry knowledge.
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