As the offshore wind industry begins to make its footprint in New York City, a new program aims to remove obstacles for women, minority-owned and historically-disadvantaged businesses.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and TMS Waterfront Services on Tuesday launched “OSW NYC Waterfront Pathways,” an effort aimed at educating businesses about the city’s contracting opportunities in waterfront construction.
The program’s first cohort includes 18 construction and professional service firms and follows Mayor Eric Adams’ executive order issued last month focused on increasing the number of underrepresented groups awarded city contracts.
“We have an opportunity to build an industry that has equity at its core,” said Maria Torres-Springer, deputy mayor for economic and workforce development, in a release. “The OSW NYC Waterfront Pathways Program will advance these goals, helping to build the offshore wind industry and actively engage New York’s minority, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises from the outset.”
Small-to-midsized businesses that fall under the program’s umbrella will receive expert resources and education courses — mostly virtually — to increase awareness and know-how surrounding the city’s contract process.
The program will also teach businesses to position themselves for joint ventures and public-private partnerships to help them expand and serve as pieces in an industry rapidly growing throughout the five boroughs.
Staten Island has three separate sites eyeing the offshore wind industry, and the College of Staten Island is positioning itself to be a major source of talent for the boom of job opportunities.
“We are proud to launch the first-in-the-nation OSW and waterfront training program for minority, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises that will work to eliminate systematic barriers and create a diverse talent pipeline for the rapidly growing OSW industry,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Andrew Kimball.
The OSW NYC Waterfront Pathways program will receive nearly $1 million from the city’s $191 million OSW Vision Plan, which seeks for 40% of job and investment benefits within the industry are directed to women, minorities, and environmental justice communities — largely consistent with federal goals.
An additional $500,000 was supplied by Equinor and BP — two major players in the global offshore wind industry.
TMS Waterfront Services is a consortium selected by NYCEDC after a request for proposals sought knowledge and expertise in lifting the presence of minority, women-owned and disadvantaged businesses.
“The return to the waterfront either commercially, recreationally, or privately in New York City, as well as the shift to renewables, has been accelerating for the past two decades,” said TMS Waterfront President & Founder Shea Thorvaldsen.
“Linking and activating the historically underrepresented DAC and EJ communities, as well as MWBE enterprises to the waterfront with the skills and connections to participate is long overdue — this program will do exactly that,” said Thorvaldsen.