It's Working

MMA staff on campus with Rep. Joseph Kennedy III at the Academy's Crew Transfer Training Facility
Photo - Christine Hochkeppel

U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III visited Cape Cod on Friday, July 17 to promote his Jobs and Justice Initiative, a legislative proposal to reboot the economy in a better, stronger and more resilient country following the economic damage caused by the coronavirus. “If there is one thing that I know for certain it is this — we cannot go back to the place that we were before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kennedy said. “We cannot go back to that normal, because that normal was broken for far too many.”

The Jobs and Justice Initiative is a national mobilization and federal hiring program with the goal of easing the unemployment crisis and stimulating economic growth while continuing crisis response and recovery needs. During a conference held at Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Friday morning, Kennedy spoke of how the Academy’s Offshore Wind Training Program is preparing the local economy to move forward. “Here in Massachusetts, we have an opportunity not just to put our neighbors back to work, but build something bigger and stronger and bolder with our offshore wind,” he said.

The initiative will support offshore wind as well as other environmentally sustainable energy jobs such as solar panel installation and energy storage innovation, Kennedy said. “We need to build a big and bold economic plan that capitalizes off each strength of our region. The Jobs and Justice Initiative is a roadmap for a post (COVID-19) world.” Kennedy is a longtime supporter of wind energy but also of families, said David Borrus, of the Pile Drivers Union. These jobs provide the means to support local families and their well-being, he said.

Members of the Pile Drivers Union have attended offshore training classes this past year at Massachusetts Maritime. He said some of the trainees had to battle strong winds and turbulent sea conditions, offering a true, real-life experience. “It has been our goal to make this industry the next generation of trades workers in Massachusetts and the New England community,” Borrus said. “We are very excited about these developments.” Representatives from IBEW Local 103, an electrician union, and the Iron Workers Union also attended the event.

Massachusetts was the first in the country to make a commitment to offshore wind and a strong local workforce to support it. These facilities will help to continue to lead the country in the development of a skilled, well trained workforce, not just for the Vineyard Wind project, but for an entire industry as it develops in the United States. Captain Michael Burns, director for MMA's Center for Maritime and Professional Training has been in from the ground level and understands the importance of these initiatives. "A training program only adds value if students are able to attend. I would like to thank Dave Borrus and the Piledriver’s Union for being the first to send their members to this program. I’m proud to say that we also have them as instructors. We value our working relationship with the Piledrivers and look forward to working with leadership from the other unions, offshore wind developers, and suppliers to help train their workers for the challenges of working offshore."