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Grant To UMass Amherst Focused On Increasing Diversity In Offshore Wind Industry

Wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean.
RYAN CARON KING
/
CONNECTICUT PUBLIC RADIO
Wind turbines in the Atlantic Ocean.

A new grant provided to UMass Amherst seeks to assist people of color and low-income students get jobs in the offshore wind industry.

UMass launched its offshore wind certificate program in 2020. It consists of three online courses taken over a year.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a state agency, funded the award.

Dwayne Breger, the UMass professor who oversees the program, said the goal is to broaden the pool of people who take the course.

"We want to make sure that the industry is accessible to our minority populations, constituents from our Gateway Cities and low-income communities that are well educated in technical fields, but may not have the opportunity to advance their education because of costs, " he said.

Breger said that in the current 24-person summer class, there is only one student of color.

He said the grant covers the tuition for eligible students and helps them get internships in the offshore wind industry.

Breger said he expects the first students funded by the grant will start next spring.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education, and politics. Working with correspondent Morley Safer, he reported from locations across the United States as well as from India, Costa Rica, Italy, and Iraq.
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