President Laura L. Douglas, Ph.D., of Bristol Community College, and Business Development Manager, at JDR, Neil Brown, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide technical job training as part of New England’s emerging offshore wind industry.

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Image: Bristol Community College and JDR Cables have launched an innovative collaboration to train the future workforce for the global offshore wind industry. Photo: Courtesy of JDR Cable Systems Ltd.

They were joined by the British Consul General to New England, Harriet Cross, and Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), Stephen Pike, today at a press conference held at the college’s downtown New Bedford campus.

“JDR is a global leader in the supply of products and services to the energy production and distribution markets and prides itself on technology innovation and customer focus,” said Neil Brown, Business Development Manager, at JDR. “Since the inception of the offshore wind power generation market in the UK and Europe over 12 years ago, we have been at the forefront of offering customer solutions for power cables and accessories.”

“This exciting partnership further demonstrates Bristol’s commitment to the training and development of high-paying careers in the offshore wind industry,” said Laura Douglas, Ph.D., President, Bristol Community College. “It also ensures that the college will be able to support the region’s emerging offshore industry sector with highly-skilled workers, innovative training programs and the shared use of specialized facilities well into the future.”

“JDR is extremely excited to have secured this strategic partnership with the Bristol Community College. Bringing JDR’s industry leading 66kV cable technology and innovative thinking from working on projects in the US and around the world will be so valuable to the future workforce. This collaboration is a critical step in not only JDR’s strategy but for the future local workforce who will be at the forefront of delivering offshore wind energy. With this agreement, we have successfully established another key step in our strategy for US offshore wind and we are now prepared to make our strategy a reality,” said David Nemetz, Director at JDR.

Harriet Cross, also attended the signing and expressed strong support for the agreement between Bristol and JDR. Consul General Cross added, “This agreement is just one example of the opportunities for collaboration between UK and US organizations to support the emerging offshore wind market in the United States. I commend both Bristol and JDR for their leadership and commitment to being first movers in this exciting, emerging industry.”

“Offshore wind offers Massachusetts workers a tremendous opportunity to pioneer a brand new industry and help build the state’s clean energy future,” said Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), Stephen Pike “Innovative training programs such as the one announced today by Bristol Community College and JDR Cables are key to the Commonwealth’s success in developing a workforce that will meet the diverse needs of the offshore wind industry today and in the years to come.”

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is dedicated to growing the state’s clean energy economy while helping to meet the Commonwealth’s clean energy, climate and economic development goals. MassCEC constructed and operates the Wind Technology Testing Center as well as the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, a multi-purpose facility designed to support the construction, assembly and deployment of offshore wind projects. The terminal also handles bulk, break-bulk, container shipping and large specialty marine cargo. The first of its kind in North America, the terminal is considered the most versatile heavy-lift cargo facility in the United States. The terminal is strategically located in the heart of New England on the Atlantic Coast with convenient access to open water to take advantage of both domestic and international shipping opportunities.

“Well-trained technicians are an integral part of the offshore construction team. Conducting the delicate operations associated with fiber optics, and the precision needed for electrical termination are challenging in the most benign conditions,” added Neil Brown, Business Development Manager at JDR. “When you combine this with the demanding offshore environment, the requirement to have competent, experienced and dedicated technicians is critical to the success of the entire wind farm installation.”

The foundation of this exciting collaborative partnership was established approximately one year ago, in February 2018, when Bristol President Laura L. Douglas, Ph.D. participated in the US-UK Offshore Wind Ports & Supply Chain Delegation at the invitation of the British Embassy in Washington, DC. She joined a delegation comprised of business executives, organized labor representatives and state and local officials from Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

The delegation’s itinerary included, among many others, meetings with JDR Cables and highlighted the UK’s experience developing a successful offshore wind sector on a commercial scale. The visit included presentations about best practices in offshore wind that have led to significant social and economic benefits in the UK. The delegation also visited offshore wind manufacturing companies, training facilities for workforce development and ports in Hull and Grimsby, and JDR’s cable manufacturing facility in Hartlepool, England, utilized for the development of offshore wind farms.

The collaborative partnership enables Bristol Community College to train technicians and workers with the complete set of technical, health, safety and environmental skills required for successful careers in the US offshore wind industry. With the support of industry leaders such as JDR, Bristol plans to develop the National Offshore Wind Institute (NOWI) to host workforce development initiatives, training and job opportunities with employers and accelerate the development of a national offshore wind industry.

Bristol will develop and deliver innovative training courses that result in the technical skill development and student competency in all aspects of work directly associated with the offshore termination and testing of array cables. The college will also deliver technical and safety-training courses specifically to JDR’s technicians, on a schedule agreed to by both parties. The college will also promote the offshore wind industry by coordinating with the state network of MassHire Career Centers to recruit, screen, assess and refer possible technician candidates to JDR.

Under the terms of the understanding, JDR will participate on business and education advisory committees at Bristol to provide expertise regarding technical and educational curriculum and will provide recommendations of equipment, course content and procedures. JDR will bring experienced subject matter experts in offshore wind cable services and training programs to the college, as well sponsor K-16 STEM educational outreach initiatives at both the Bristol locations and regional middle and high schools.

JDR will also utilize Bristol’s planned offshore wind facility for the training and development of JDR’s technicians to qualify in the basic Global Wind Organization safety requirements, as well as in the technical aspects directly associated with the offshore termination and testing of array cables.

In addition, Bristol and JDR will establish a collaborative Steering Team to successfully implement the activities contemplated in the agreement. The Steering Team will review the performance of both parties concerning compliance with the agreement, deliver guidance and monitor the success of the program.

Source: Company Press Release.