The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and the New Jersey Wind Port Construction Management team AECOM Tishman recently held a Trades Career Day at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Salem.
More than 150 residents, students, and community members attended the free event to explore career and apprenticeship opportunities as a union carpenter, electrician, laborer, operating engineer, plumber and more – roles that will feature prominently in the construction of the New Jersey Wind Port. The purpose-built wind port, a first-of-its-kind asset in the U.S., will manufacture and assemble wind turbines to meet New Jersey’s offshore wind goal of generating 7.5 gigawatts (GW) of electricity by 2035. It will also position the state to serve as the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region’s leading wind supply chain hub.
The Wind Port, alongside other strategic investments including the nation’s first monopile manufacturing plant at the Port of Paulsboro, will serve to attract parts manufacturers and service companies alike that will want to locate in or near these facilities, making South Jersey an epicenter for offshore wind supply chain jobs and investment. The annual economic impact of the Wind Port, estimated at $500 million, will pave the way for economic diversity and economic sustainability across the region and state.
“The New Jersey Wind Port project impact goes beyond the hundreds of jobs needed to construct it, beyond the 1,500 jobs needed to manufacture wind turbine components, it reaches into the next generation for job opportunities in a clean energy economy in South Jersey. The burgeoning clean energy industry sector will provide a fresh start to building an inclusive, highly skilled, high-wage, locally trained workforce making South Jersey a region of choice,” said Jane Asselta, Vice President of the Southern New Jersey Development Council, consultant to the New Jersey Wind Port project.
The NJEDA, AECOM Tishman and the Southern New Jersey Building Trades Council hosted the Career Fair to reach out to Salem County residents interested learning more about career opportunities in construction.
“The tremendous turnout at last Wednesday’s successful construction career fair highlighted the positive impact that New Jersey’s offshore wind sector will have on Salem County’s local economy,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “We were thrilled to see representatives from so many organizations speaking with job seekers about apprenticeship programs and career opportunities that the New Jersey Wind Port will provide in the months and years ahead.”
Flora Ramos, Director of Community Relations for New Jersey Wind Port construction manager AECOM Tishman, said of the career fair “AECOM Tishman is honored to be part of such an historic project, and we want to thank the local Salem County community for being so welcoming. We met many residents at the job fair and look forward to providing guidance through the unions that were represented at the event.
At the Career Fair, tables were set out with representatives at each for many of the major trade unions in the South Jersey region involved in the Wind Port construction, including:
“We were proud to be part of the well-attended NJ Wind Port Career Fair,” said Steve DiMatteo, who represents IBEW Local 351. “Talking to the attendees, it’s obvious the loss of industry in Salem County has affected so many residents. The career opportunities created by this project with the union trades and in the manufacturing jobs to follow are a blessing for this community.”
Stopping by the Wind Port Career Fair, Salem County Commissioner Ed Ramsay talked with residents about why they came out. “I spoke with several people here visiting each table, and all wanted to know more about how to enter an apprenticeship program that after graduation, would mean a career where they could continue to live and work in Salem County, buy a house, a car, afford vacations and educations and still have enough saved for retirement,” said Ramsay, whose County Commissioner assignments includes Economic Development.
The New Jersey Wind Port Career Fair also included tables for residents to connect with Salem County based organizations to assist in job training readiness services such as obtaining a driver’s license, high school equivalency courses and preparing for the workforce programs.
Participating organizations included the Salem Community College, Salem County Career & Technical High School, Mid-Atlantic States Career & Education Center, and the Salem County One Stop.
“It was great to see so many Salem County residents at the Salem County Wind Port Trades Career Fair,” said Kathleen Lockbaum, Director of the Salem County Board of Social Services and Local Area Operations Director at Salem County One Stop Career Center. “The Salem County One Stop Career Center is a great resource to assist those interested in participating in job training programs, like those offered by the dozen trade unions at the Career Fair.”
“It was a pleasure to be part of this gathering of employers and career seekers,” commented Joe Pritchett, Career Counselor at Salem Community College. “As the institution of higher education for Salem County, we’re excited to provide support to our county residents, including offering career exploration opportunities and honing the needed academic skills to be fully ready to compete for positions with the unions who will make the Wind Port a reality.”
It was noted the large turnout was result of the community outreach by event partners Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Salem Main Street, Salem City, and the Salem County Chamber of Commerce. “The Salem County Chamber of Commerce is very pleased to have been able to assist in promoting this event to our residents,” said Jennifer Jones, President of the Salem County Chamber of Commerce. “The hope of high paying jobs has been just the boost our community needed.” “Feedback from folks who attended has been very positive and The Chamber is thrilled with the large number of people who attended.” Jones added.
Those interested in learning more about the New Jersey Wind Port can visit https://www.nj.gov/windport/about/index.shtml.
The Southern New Jersey Development Council (SNJDC) is a non-profit economic development organization that promotes responsible economic development in Southern New Jersey and is a consultant on the New Jersey Wind Port project providing diversity, inclusion, and local engagement services.
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