Brownsville Prepares For Green Future With Offshore Wind, Job Training Initiative

La’Shawn Allen-Muhammad, executive director of the Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corp.Photo By Richard Burroughs

Brooklyn community stakeholders on Friday celebrated the May launch of the Brooklyn Youth Offshore Wind Training program, a workforce development initiative for New York’s offshore wind industry at the Brownsville Community Culinary Center.

Citizens Financial Group said it would provide a $600,000, two-year grant to help launch the program, available for 72 Brownsville youth, aged 15-24, to gain certification and hands-on experience for green energy jobs.

The program will provide safety certification, hands-on training, paid internships and swimming lessons starting this summer.

The program is organized by the Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corp. (CBEDC), in partnership with the National Wind Service Corp. (NWS) and Local Initiatives Support Corporation New York (LISC NY).

The program kicks off in Brownsville, where La’Shawn Allen-Muhammad, executive director of CBEDC, was raised.

“As someone born in this community, it is a blessing to work with purpose and on purpose about giving back to the community that has given me so much,” she said.

CBEDC and NWS will administer the program, develop the curriculum, hire instructors and provide counselors and other support services. Students will begin with a 15-week after-school preparatory program before they advance into an intensive seven-week paid summer internship.

Rachel Mattes Greenberg, head of sustainability, Citizens Financial Group. Photo By Richard Burroughs.

Rachel Mattes Greenberg, the head of sustainability at Citizens, told BK Reader that the financial institution is focused on supporting the communities where they operate.

“We’re going to focus on upskilling the youth of Brownsville to be ready for the jobs of the future, the jobs associated with the offshore wind industry,” she said.

Valerie White, senior executive director of LISC NY, said the new program will allow the youth of Brownsville to access technology, training, and have a potential career in the offshore wind industry, “which is the future of energy in the U.S.,” she said.

Valerie White, senior executive director of LISC NY. Photo By Richard Burroughs

“Black and Brown communities have been the last communities to have access to new industries as they have emerged,” White added. “This program allows the establishment of access to happen immediately, so we’re prepared to be part of the pipeline to support the industry.”

Marjaneh Issapour, chief executive officer of National Wind Services Corp., said some gradates may have opportunities to become wind turbine technicians.

Marjaneh Issapour, CEO of National Wind Services Corp. Photo By Richard Burroughs.

“Before all the offshore opportunities are here, they can get employment in adjacent industries to offshore wind, like construction, [or as an] electrician and welder. My hope is a more diverse, inclusive industry than the fossil fuels industry has been,” she said.

Sidda Philip, the program director of Youth Workforce Services at Bridge Street Development, who attended the event, said she would be looking to see how the program can be replicated in Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights.

The program is currently working closely with local schools to recruit students. The program kicks off in May 2024, and you can click here to apply.

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