TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy’s Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy (OCAGE), in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), today announced the release of a Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) to support innovative pilot programs focused on building a diverse, inclusive green workforce. Through the Building our Resilient, Inclusive, and Diverse Green Economy (NJ BRIDGE) initiative, a total of $5 million is available to fund scalable projects to support residents entering the green workforce or climbing the green career ladder, with a focus on engagement in overburdened communities.
Additionally, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) will begin accepting applications on December 8 for a competitive grant program that will help New Jerseyans, particularly those in overburdened communities, develop skills for offshore wind careers. The $3.725 million Offshore Wind Workforce and Skills Development Grant Challenge (Grant Challenge) will offer grants to selected entities that will aid in launching or expanding workforce training and skills programs focused on strengthening and diversifying New Jersey’s offshore wind workforce.
Together, the OCAGE NOFA and the Grant Challenge amount to more than $8 million in funding toward the cultivation of a green economy founded upon good-paying jobs and long-term career opportunities.
“My Administration is proud to provide crucial support for new and existing opportunities in the green jobs sector for all New Jerseyans, including members of overburdened communities who have disproportionately experienced climate impacts,” said Governor Murphy. “These significant funding commitments and interdepartmental synergies testify to our comprehensive, all-of-government approach to positioning New Jersey as a national leader in the green economy. As we work to protect our vulnerable communities from the effects of climate change, we will also ensure that they are equipped with the resources they need to reap the optimal benefits of our state’s transition to a 100% clean energy economy.”
“I am beyond proud of the steps we are taking in New Jersey as we transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Just a few months ago, we launched our climate change curriculum across all K-12 learning standards, becoming the first state in the country to do so, and positioning our students to lead the next generation of climate literate professionals. Today’s funding announcement expands upon these programs enabling further education and training to ensure our diverse communities enter the green economy workforce with the promise of good-paying jobs and career longevity.”
“Transitioning the state to a 100% clean energy economy and meeting our bold offshore wind development goals will require a highly skilled, inclusive workforce,” said OCAGE Executive Director Jane Cohen. “Since the outset of the Murphy Administration, we have pursued our clean energy future not just for our environment and growing economy, but for the hard-working New Jerseyans who will fill thousands of new jobs as we strive for a more sustainable tomorrow.”
“The Murphy Administration’s commitment to improving our environment as we promote economic growth is creating good-paying jobs, including through our pursuit of a just clean energy transition and clean water for all,” said Shawn M. LaTourette, Commissioner of Environmental Protection and Co-Chair of the Council on the Green Economy. “The BRIDGE initiative will help expand New Jersey’s growing green workforce by piloting programs with the capacity to increase access to green jobs for all people through outreach, training, and direct services that support our residents as they gear up for the jobs of the future.”
“The state’s emerging offshore wind industry, and the green energy sector overall, is creating a wealth of attractive, family-sustaining career opportunities. We have a responsibility to make sure New Jerseyans from all backgrounds have access to the training needed to safely and skillfully perform those jobs,” said NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan. “Governor Murphy is equally committed to the success of New Jersey workers aspiring to work in this growing industry and the offshore wind companies that are choosing to invest here.”
“As New Jersey’s green economy continues to grow it is crucial that we provide opportunities for a diverse workforce to fill all of the clean energy jobs we are creating as we work toward a 100 percent clean energy future,” said Joseph L. Fiordaliso, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President and Co-Chair of the Council on the Green Economy. “NJBPU has long been a champion of a diverse workforce in the utility and clean energy sectors. During the Murphy Administration we have focused on ensuring the green programs aimed at increasing the clean energy footprint in environmental justice communities offer good paying job opportunities to the residents of those communities.”
“Innovative Workforce training initiatives are key to creating a stronger, fairer economy for all. We know that clean energy is our future, and we know that preparing New Jerseyans for careers using cutting-edge technology benefits workers and employers. This significant funding commitment goes a long way toward helping us achieve both our clean energy and workforce goals,” said Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.
“The Offshore Wind Workforce and Skills Development Grant Challenge is part of the State’s holistic effort to ensure equity and inclusiveness in the unprecedented employment opportunity created by the offshore wind industry,” said NJEDA’s Jen Becker, Managing Director, Wind Institute. “The Grant Challenge will enable us to draw on the expertise of partners with the depth and breadth of knowledge to create robust and relevant training programs needed to build a top-notch talent pipeline.”
Governor’s Council on the Green Economy
In February 2021, Governor Murphy announced the creation of a Council on the Green Economy, convening cross-sector leaders in New Jersey’s growing green economy to harness the opportunity created by New Jersey’s climate and clean energy policy accomplishments. The Council was tasked with informing the effort to define pathways for green job creation, development of workforce capacity, and support for an innovation ecosystem critical to a nation-leading green economy. In a One Year Plan accompanying the Green Jobs for a Sustainable Future report, state agencies committed to planning and implementing programs, pilot projects, and funding opportunities that will increase access to green jobs and address gaps in the development of the green workforce statewide.
The NJ BRIDGE initiative is designed to pilot approaches, including those recommended by the Council, that enable residents of overburdened communities to access onramps to good-paying, family-sustaining, and green union jobs.
Respondents are invited to submit proposals in response to this solicitation.
NJ Wind Institute for Innovation and Training
The Grant Challenge is part of NJEDA’s efforts to establish the NJ Wind Institute for Innovation and Training (the “Wind Institute”) as an independent entity created through legislation. The Wind Institute will coordinate and deploy resources to advance offshore wind workforce development, research, and innovation in the state. For more information on the grant challenge, visit www.njeda.com/offshore-wind-workforce-and-skills-development-grant-challenge/