More than 80 area students attend event to learn about career pathways in emerging clean energy industry
Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a leading sustainable energy company and member of the Iberdrola Group, and University of Bridgeport (UB) last week held the first Offshore Wind Workshop on campus to outline opportunities and career pathways for local high school and college students in the New England region’s emerging offshore wind industry. The workshop, which took place on November 9, 2023, hosted more than 80 local students from Fairchild Wheeler High School, Central High School, University of Bridgeport, and other local schools, and included panel discussions detailing the diversity of job opportunities within offshore wind, as well 1-on-1 engagement with students and current Avangrid employees.
“Offshore Wind is a critical energy and climate solution for the New England region, but it also represents a generational economic opportunity for young people in communities like Bridgeport,” said Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra. “The successful, ongoing construction of our nation-leading Vineyard Wind 1 project demonstrates the immense potential for this industry to create well-paying jobs in the skilled trades, and we believe the students that attended this workshop represent a bright future for the region’s clean energy workforce.”
When there is renewable energy in this region, it’s good for student employment and good for the environment,” said Dr. Junling Hu, Chair of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Applied Computational Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at University of Bridgeport.
“It’s important to run this workshop at University of Bridgeport,” said Dean of the College of Engineering, Business, and Education, Dr. Khaled Elleithy. “It’s designed to excite high school students about jobs in the field. We hope some students might join us in the future, where we have facilities and experienced professors who can teach these technologies.”
As part of the day’s programming, Avangrid held a panel discussion featuring current employees focused on jobs in offshore wind, including construction, operations and maintenance, civil and electrical engineering, research and development, marine science, and other positions within the skilled trades. Tamika Jacques, Avangrid’s Director of Workforce Development and Supply Chain, provided a keynote address highlighting offshore wind’s potential for economic impact throughout New England and in communities like Bridgeport, including the creation of well-paying, family sustaining jobs. The program concluded with 1-on-1 meetings between students and Avangrid employees, and a tour of University of Bridgeport’s campus for prospective students.
“Offshore Wind is a once-in-a-generation economic opportunity for the New England region, and in particular communities like Bridgeport that stand to benefit from the jobs and investment this industry can bring in the decades to come,” said Tamika Jacques, Director of Workforce Development and Supply Chain. “We’re inspired to see the passion and interest in clean energy from these young leaders, and grateful to our partners at University of Bridgeport for hosting this workshop, which we hope will be a first step into a career in offshore wind for many of these students.”
In late 2022, Avangrid began construction on its first-in-the-nation Vineyard Wind 1 project, achieved steel-in-the-water in June, and completed the nation’s first offshore substation in July. Construction flows through the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. In July 2021, Vineyard Wind signed the first Project Labor Agreement for an offshore wind project in the United States, which outlined the creation of 500 union jobs though the project.
An 806-megawatt project located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Vineyard Wind will generate electricity for more than 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts, create 3,600 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) job years, save customers $1.4 billion over the first 20 years of operation, and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.6 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of taking 325,000 cars off the road annually.
About University of Bridgeport: University of Bridgeport offers career-oriented undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and programs for people seeking personal and professional growth. The University promotes academic excellence, personal responsibility, and commitment to service. Distinctive curricula in an international, culturally diverse, and supportive learning environment prepare graduates for life and leadership in an increasingly interconnected world. The University is independent and non-sectarian. www.bridgeport.edu
About Avangrid: Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) aspires to be the leading sustainable energy company in the United States. Headquartered in Orange, CT with approximately $41 billion in assets and operations in 24 U.S. states, Avangrid has two primary lines of business: networks and renewables. Through its networks business, Avangrid owns and operates eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving more than 3.3 million customers in New York and New England. Through its renewables business, Avangrid owns and operates a portfolio of renewable energy generation facilities across the United States. Avangrid employs more than 7,500 people and has been recognized by JUST Capital in 2021, 2022 and 2023 as one of the JUST 100 companies – a ranking of America’s best corporate citizens. In 2023, Avangrid ranked first within the utility sector for its commitment to the environment. The company supports the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2023 for the fifth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute. Avangrid is a member of the group of companies controlled by Iberdrola, S.A. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.