On October 19, 2021, UMass Dartmouth, Bristol Community College, and Massachusetts Maritime Academy expanded the CONNECT4WIND Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to include regional partners Bridgewater State University, Cape Cod Community College, and Massasoit Community College.
The MOU expansion was signed during the Commonwealth’s fourth annual STEM Week at Bristol Community College’s National Offshore Wind Institute (NOWI) in New Bedford before a crowd of legislators, business and community leaders, and other key stakeholders. All six CEOs of the CONNECT institutions spoke and added their institution's commitment to the region’s offshore wind aspirations.
“It’s great to see the South Coast’s higher education institutions—from community colleges to national research universities like UMass Dartmouth—working together to prepare students for a wide range of high-demand careers in the rapidly growing offshore wind industry,” said Dr. Mark A. Fuller, Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth.
Originally chartered in the summer of 2018, the CONNECT4WIND project was a shared commitment to creating a vibrant and sustainable offshore wind industry that complements the existing and historic fishing and industrial uses of the port. It also develops a better understanding of the workforce requirements of existing models of offshore wind and deepens the understanding of offshore wind as a new industry sector with an appropriate supply chain model. With the expansion of the CONNECT4WIND MOU, Bridgewater State University, Cape Cod Community College, and Massasoit Community College will join and fortify the agreement by adding critical supply chain training components that will support the region’s wind industry.
“Bristol Community College is proud to celebrate the further expansion of the CONNECT4Wind collaboration and shared commitment to the development of a highly skilled and equitable offshore wind workforce in our region,” said Dr. Laura L. Douglas, President, Bristol Community College, and CONNECT Board Chair. “For the first time in history, six Massachusetts higher education institutions have come together to further solidify our long-term commitment to sharing resources and collaborating on the development of a sustainable, regional offshore wind sector."
On October 20, CONNECT’s STEM Week celebration continued with a Virtual Wind Symposium. During this half-day event, high school, and higher education students, legislators, business and community leaders, and other key regional stakeholders convened to participate in three-panel discussions which highlight Workforce Development, Research & Development and Technical Assistance, and Entrepreneurship and Business Assistance.
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito congratulated the CONNECT institutions via video for their efforts towards sustainable energy, workforce development, and STEM education during a video address.
CONNECT is the consortium of the six public colleges and universities in Southeastern Massachusetts, Bridgewater State University, Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Massasoit Community College, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.