Ørsted Plans $5.75 Million in Rhode Island Community Grant Funding to Foster Talented and Diverse Workforce Supporting Starboard Wind Project

Grants will support pathways to employment for low-income Rhode Islanders, veterans, immigrants, and other underrepresented communities

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – JULY 9, 2024 – Rhode Island’s offshore wind leader Ørsted today announced grants totaling $5.75 million to six leading Rhode Island community organizations committed to building a diverse and talented pipeline of Rhode Island workers with the skills to succeed in the Ocean State’s growing blue economy. These grants are included as part of Ørsted’s proposed Starboard Wind project. If Starboard Wind is selected to move forward, Ørsted will provide the following grants to local workforce development partners:

  • $3 million to Building Futures Rhode Island. This funding will support efforts by Building Futures to diversify the Rhode Island workforce through programs including pre-apprenticeship training that places Rhode Islanders in union apprenticeships; development and delivery of wind turbine technician job readiness training; offshore safety training, provided preferentially by the Community College of Rhode Island; and technical assistance to evaluate and monitor workforce diversity and apprenticeship utilization goals on project construction scopes.
  • $1 million to Always Learning Rhode Island. This funding will support Always Learning Rhode Island's mission of improving student educational outcomes in Rhode Island, ensuring today's students can succeed in Rhode Island's future clean energy workforce.

  • $500,000 to Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI). This funding will aid OSDRI’s work supporting transportation needs, childcare support, other wraparound services, and placement into workforce development programs to enable at-risk veterans to obtain training for good jobs in the offshore wind industry.
  • $500,000 to the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA). This funding will support RIBBA’s efforts to raise awareness about job opportunities in the offshore wind industry, conduct community outreach, and facilitate workforce development and training.
  • $500,000 to the Tomaquag Museum. This funding will support the Tomaquag Museum’s outreach efforts to help diverse and lower-income communities fully participate in workforce and supplier diversity programs.

  • $250,000 to DORCAS International. This funding will support DORCAS International in providing immigration legal services, connecting immigrants to offshore wind opportunities, and providing support services for immigrants seeking to enter the clean energy economy.

“Rhode Island has a breadth of skilled, dedicated workers looking to be part of our clean energy transformation, and we are committed to giving them the opportunity to do so,” said Erik Antokal, Ørsted’s Director of Workforce Development, Americas. “Over the past decade, our work in Rhode Island has helped launch a thriving offshore wind industry, and these organizations have been integral to our success. As we plan for hundreds of new, local, family-supporting jobs building Starboard Wind, we look forward to continuing to work with these amazing community partners to welcome diverse and talented workers from all corners of Rhode Island.”

Ørsted’s proposed 1,184-megawatt (MW) Starboard Wind project would deliver clean and reliable offshore wind energy at stable and affordable pricing for Rhode Island homeowners and businesses for decades. If selected, Starboard Wind would result in more than $1.1 billion of direct, private investment and expenditure in Rhode Island, which would come on top of Ørsted’s existing investments and commitments in the state.

Starboard Wind would create at least 3,800 full-time equivalent positions, nearly all of which would be based in Rhode Island. This includes more than 640 new direct jobs in the state, including 100 new local union construction jobs at ProvPort, where Ørsted has established an industry hub, to support the expanded construction of advanced foundation components as Rhode Island strengthens its position in the U.S. offshore wind supply chain.

“Thanks to Ørsted’s work in Rhode Island, hundreds of unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders are gaining new skills for offshore construction and a renewed sense of purpose supporting our growing clean energy industry,” said Andrew Cortés, Executive Director of Building Futures Rhode Island. “Ørsted has demonstrated time and time again their commitment to building an economy that’s wide-reaching and sustainable, and these grants are further evidence of that commitment. Starboard Wind will have a substantial impact on our state’s economy, and we are excited to be part of putting thousands of Rhode Islanders to work building this historic project.”

"Always Learning RI is committed to improving educational outcomes for Rhode Island students through strong, year-round, out-of-school learning experiences while supporting Governor McKee’s Learn365RI initiatives, and we are grateful for Ørsted's support of this important work," said Bob Walsh, Board Chairman of Always Learning RI. "Rhode Island punches above its weight in the offshore wind industry, and the addition of Starboard Wind will add hundreds of new direct jobs to this sector. By supporting our efforts to provide hands-on learning experiences to students across Rhode Island, Ørsted is helping prepare today's students to succeed in the state's growing offshore wind industry."

"From housing, to healthcare, to transportation and more, Rhode Island's veterans often face difficult barriers to entry into the workforce," said Erik Wallin, Executive Director of Operation Stand Down Rhode Island. "We owe our veterans an enormous debt, and we have a responsibility to ease their transition home and help them find gainful, long-term employment. Ørsted has always shown their commitment to supporting and hiring those who served our country, and this grant - along with the many job opportunities that will be created by Starboard Wind - will help us continue to provide pathways to employment for our veteran community."

“Rhode Island’s clean energy sector is rapidly growing. It's critical that Black Rhode Islanders contribute and participate at all levels of this industry,” said Lisa Ranglin, Founder, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Black Business Association. “Our work in local communities advocating for greater investment and increased inclusion, providing business development assistance, and leading training and workforce development programs has helped thousands of Rhode Islanders access gainful employment and build sustainable businesses. We are grateful for Ørsted’s support of this work and appreciate their commitment to making Starboard Wind a truly inclusive project.”

"At the Tomaquag Museum, our goal is to educate everyone on the history and contributions of Indigenous People and to empower the Indigenous Community of Rhode Island through education, cultural competency, job training, employment and more," said Lorén M. Spears, Executive Director of the Tomaquag Museum. "In this respect, Starboard Wind offers a substantial opportunity not just to protect our state's environment and natural resources, but also to provide hundreds of new direct jobs for Rhode Islanders. We look forward to partnering with Ørsted on workforce development programming that will help Indigenous Rhode Islanders secure good-paying jobs bringing a clean energy future to the Ocean State."

"For more than 100 years, Dorcas International has welcomed immigrants and refugees to Rhode Island and helped them overcome barriers and thrive," said Kathleen Cloutier, Executive Director of the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island. "Ørsted has been a longtime proponent of efforts to increase diversity and expand the talent pool in the offshore wind industry, and we appreciate their commitment to helping the immigrant community succeed through integrated educational, social, and legal services as well as workforce development initiatives. Rhode Island's diversity is its strength, and this grant will help ensure that diversity continues to be reflected in our state's growing clean energy economy."

In addition to new construction roles, Starboard Wind will directly create jobs across component assembly, operations and maintenance, engineering, and other roles, as well as supporting hundreds of other jobs indirectly in Rhode Island by boosting local economic activity. The project would also employ union workers in neighboring New England states, driving regional benefits and collaboration.

Ørsted and Eversource are currently constructing Revolution Wind, Rhode Island’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm. Together with Starboard Wind, Ørsted’s projects would satisfy as much as three-quarters of Rhode Island’s electric demand, propelling the state toward its target of 100 percent clean energy by 2033.

Additional information about Ørsted and Starboard Wind can be found at us.orsted.com/starboard-wind.

About Ørsted
A global clean energy leader, Ørsted develops, constructs, and operates offshore and land-based wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, and bioenergy plants. Ørsted was the first energy company in the world to have its science-based net-zero emissions target validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and is recognized as the world’s most sustainable energy developer in the Corporate Knights Global 100 index.

In the United States, the company has approximately 700 employees and a portfolio of clean energy assets and partnerships that includes offshore wind energy, land-based wind energy, solar, battery storage and e-fuels. Ørsted is a U.S. leader in offshore wind energy with approximately 3 gigawatts in development and operates both America’s first offshore wind farm, located off the coast of Block Island, and the country’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm, South Fork Wind. Ørsted has a total U.S. land-based capacity of 5 gigawatts across wind, solar, storage technologies and e-fuels. To learn more about the Ørsted U.S. business, visit us.orsted.com or follow the company on X (@OrstedUS), Instagram, and Facebook.

Media Contact
Meaghan Wims