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Ecosystem fund

Unlocking NYC’s offshore wind workforce potential

Applications to our Ecosystem Fund are now closed; thank you to all who applied!

What is the offshore wind ecosystem fund?

Equinor and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) have established the Equinor Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund (the “Fund”), a $5 million clean energy community fund to support sustainable growth, empowerment of underserved areas, and climate justice in the offshore wind ecosystem in New York City.  Winners were announced on October 10, 2023.

about the offshore wind ecosystem fund

The Fund is designed to provide historically marginalized and environmental justice areas and populations in New York City with opportunities to benefit from the emerging offshore wind industry. Throughout the development of this Solicitation, Equinor has worked closely with members of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Sunset Park Task Force to determine priority areas that will maximize the impact of the Fund by identifying and supporting stakeholders and geographies with critical needs. This includes supporting applications that make the offshore wind industry more accessible by furthering workforce development initiatives, creating obtainable career pathways, and/or elevating local businesses’ and individuals’ participation in the industry. This fund was open only to NEw York organizations.

Meet the Ecosystem Fund Winners

1. The City University of New York (CUNY) Offshore Wind Advisory Network 

The City University of New York (CUNY) Offshore Wind Advisory Network (CUNY OWAN) made up of 4 colleges, Kingsborough Community College, College of Staten Island, LaGuardia Community College and New York City College of Technology submitted the Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund, a request to support our program titled “Bridges to Offshore Wind.”  The program is an interactive instructional seminar for individuals who are interested in learning about the region’s Offshore Wind industry. Building on each college’s existing capacities, Bridges to Offshore Wind will focus on maritime, electrical, construction and manufacturing, assembly, and supply chain subsectors. It will provide participants the opportunity to explore offshore wind pathways, as well as the education and training requirements to enter offshore wind careers. Students will review labor market information and employment projections and assess their existing skillsets to evaluate how they align to careers in this industry. Students will hear about existing job training, certification, and degree programs that are available at each CUNY campus, and how these programs might help direct their career and educational trajectory. Each college will focus on serving environmental justice communities—low income, often communities of color that face a disproportionate burden of environmental hazards that affect residents’ quality of life—that border their campuses. As such, each college will work closely with local Community Board Organizations (CBOs) and other public-serving institutions to connect with disconnected and underserved residents.   

2. JCC of Staten Island 

The JCC is one of the largest not-for-profit organizations in the borough and has been dedicated to serving residents for over 95 years. Our mission is to enhance the lives of Staten Island residents, of all ages, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and religious backgrounds by providing high- quality programs that will engage their interest and assist them in developing to their fullest potential. The JCC strengthens the bonds of the community through innovative programs that unify all members of our society and celebrates the diverse landscape of our borough. The JCC’s actions and decisions are guided by identifying unmet needs within the community and working collectively with community partners to provide services and support for all residents. Principle activities are represented in our Eight Centers of Excellence: Community Engagement, Cultural Arts, Early Childhood, Youth/Teen, Senior Service, Services for People with Disabilities, Operations and Membership, Fitness, Sports & Wellness. With generous funding from Equinor, the JCC will offer its “Creating Career Pathways in Offshore Wind” program, an initiative that will foster awareness of wind energy and related careers to at least 3,500 Staten Island community members in total, including 2,500 youth and their families and 1,000 adults over two years.  Additionally, the JCC will partner with TMI Waterfront Services, an MBE, DBE, WBE, SDVOSB, and New York’s first and only Global Wind Organization (GWO), to train 22 adults in foundation-level training for all wind careers.  

3. New York City District Council of Carpenters Training Center 

The New York City District Council of Carpenters Training Center (CTC) is the highly successful trade school for the New York City Carpenters Union. The CTC trains apprentices in six New York State Department of Labor approved apprenticeship programs. The apprenticeship programs are four-years and include a combination of On-the-Job-Training and Related Instruction through classroom and shop training at the CTC. Since 1995 we have also operated a pre-apprenticeship training that connects individuals from environmental justice communities to our apprenticeship programs. With the Offshore Wind Ecosystem Funds, we will offer apprenticeship training to skilled workers and workers from Environmental Justice communities preparing them for careers as union carpenters. The three-year project will result in 240 carpenter apprentices with advanced skills training and experience who will join the pipeline for new jobs created by the offshore wind industry.  


4. The New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) 

The New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) has a 200-year history of supporting, catalyzing and accelerating science-based solutions as a means to solve societal challenges. NYAS has a strong reputation as a neutral convener and deep relationships with more than 300 leading research universities through its Science Alliance initiative and the administration of The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists. NYAS has a long-standing history of running innovation challenges for young scientists. Having run more than 40 over the last decade. These challenges encourage young scientists to think about possible STEM solutions to global challenges.  

We believe a Clean Energy city-wide challenge is the ideal way to bring real-world, experiential learning directly to thousands of public-school students in grades 3-12 across environmental justice areas and communities in need of STEM learning support. The Challenge-based learning experience includes: mentor-led team building, problem solving, research, and applications of design thinking, as well as final team presentations. Learning tools to guide students in the Challenge process will be available in the Resource Libraries available on Launchpad, a NYAS owned cloud-based environment.   

5. Educational and Cultural Trust Fund of the Electrical Industry 

The Educational and Cultural Trust Fund of the Electrical Industry (E&C) is a nationally recognized leader in the introduction and implementation of unique and innovative programs within the electrical industry. The history of this tradition began in the late 1930’s with the institution of educational courses for members of Local Union No. 3, I.B.E.W., AFL-CIO (Local 3). In 1964, Local 3 and their signatory employers established the E&C, consolidating all the industry’s education programs. E&C programs contribute to the enhancing of technical skills for Local 3 members and provide essential education benefits for members to attain a college degree. Additionally, the fund serves as a vehicle for enriching cultural awareness through various programs, like the Spring Arts Festival, Critical Thinking workshops, theatrical & musical presentations, and the “Surge” comic book for young students to learn about the history of electricity, how to utilize it safely, how it is generated, and how renewable energy sources will play a significant role in their future. As a Grant Recipient of the Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund, The Educational and Cultural Trust Fund will conduct a comprehensive program to recruit, educate, and train a diverse future workforce for New York’s Offshore Wind Industry. E&C and its industry partners, Local 3 and NY-NECA, are industry and community leaders in providing training and job opportunities to historically underserved communities in New York City. E&C is partnering with VinciVR, a leading provider of Virtual Reality (VR) training and industry education technology for Offshore Wind. E&C will do industry education events utilizing Vinci’s module, “Day in the Life” VR software and this Offshore Wind Intro software will also be used for outreach to schools and nonprofits. Lastly, Vinci’s expertise in creating VR simulations will be leveraged to create new VR training modules for technical training required for IBEW workers and contractors in Offshore Wind. 


Founded in 1966, UPROSE is Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization. An intergenerational, Black, Indigenous, women of color-led, nationally recognized community organization, UPROSE builds intergenerationally led, frontline community power to advance environmental/climate justice and a Just Transition in Sunset Park Brooklyn through organizing, leadership development, popular education, arts and culture, policy, and participatory research/planning. 

UPROSE is a leading voice calling for the just development of the offshore wind industry in Sunset Park and New York City.  UPROSE co-led the effort to define Principles for a Just Transition in Offshore Wind Energy, a framework of standards and guidance for frontline communities beginning to engage the offshore wind industry for the first time.  UPROSE’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Yeampierre, co-chairs the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Offshore Wind Advisory Committee, helping to steer a course for the city and the industry that centers equity for NYC’s historically marginalized communities.  UPROSE helped convene with the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) the NYC Offshore Wind Environmental Justice Table to secure the place of frontline communities in offshore wind policymaking. 

UPROSE is pleased to partner with Equinor, through its Offshore Wind Ecosystem Fund, on UPROSE’s Just Transition Worker Resource Initiative (JTWRI).  The JTWRI is UPROSE’s Just Transition workforce development strategy.  The JTWRI, to be located at UPROSE’s newly expanded and renovated offices in Sunset Park, will connect residents of Sunset Park to jobs in offshore wind and the broader emerging clean energy economy.  Through JTWRI’s new Clean Energy Economy Resource Database, job seekers from Sunset Park’s historically marginalized communities will have access to reliable, current information about training and employment opportunities in the offshore wind industry and clean energy economy.  They will have opportunities to assess their job readiness, to develop thorough action plans to gain desired employment, to build supportive relationships with staff to help navigate the challenges along their job development pathways, and to utilize the JTWRI’s network of education and training providers.  UPROSE will be joined in this effort by both local community institutions and strategic partners.   

7. City Growers 

Mission statement 

City Growers uses urban agriculture to engage youth in experiential learning, nurturing a life-long relationship to food, their health, and the natural world. In a city, green space is precious, so our programming focuses on nontraditional spaces such as rooftop farms, school gardens and spaces reclaimed by nature. City Growers’ hands-on, original curriculum is designed to foster a love of urban nature, an understanding of the urban ecosystem, and empower New York City youth to be changemakers. 

About City Growers 

City Growers was established in 2011 as a nonprofit educational partner of the Brooklyn Grange to explore the educational potential of a rooftop farm. City Growers offers programs well beyond the farm to give New York City youth access to an experiential nature based curriculum that allows them to see New York City as a thriving ecosystem, and give them the tools to sustain that ecosystem. Through our programming, outreach and highly subsidized rates, City Growers is committed to ensuring that the young people who need our programs the most — those attending Title 1 schools with limited resources, those living in neighborhoods with few green spaces, and those who lack opportunities to meaningfully interact with the natural world due to socioeconomic constraints — can access them.  

Equinor Funded Programs 

Equinor has funded programming that will bring more opportunities for young people in Sunset Park to learn about green career paths and grain enviromentsal literacy. Equinor will fund City Growers Family Farm Days at Brooklyn Grange Open Houses, a collaboration between Brooklyn Grange and City Growers to welcome community members to their local rooftop farm. This event takes place on Brooklyn Grange’s Sunset Park rooftop farm monthly between May and October, and is open to the public and free of charge. With the Equinor grant we can shift to a festival atmosphere that will include food, activities, vendors, non-profit tabling, and farm tours as well as the ability to simply come and enjoy the space.  

Equinor has also funded Green Ambassadors, a paid after-school on-the-farm apprenticeship that engages high school youth in peer-to-peer learning, training, and networking that builds paths to green job employment. This program currently runs 8 weeks in the Spring targeting 12 young people from Sunset Park High School and represents a collaboration between City Growers and the High School.  

With Equinor funds, City Growers intends to expand Green Ambassadors and offer more opportunities to participating young people by expanding the program to span a full school year, beginning in the Fall and continuing through the Spring; adding sessions that explore wind power as technology and an area of workforce growth. 

8. SBIDC and BOC Network  

Program Name:  
Wind Connections: Creating an Inclusive OSW Supply Chain in NYC 

Program Description: 

Wind Connections will help develop the groundwork for a diverse and inclusive supply chain network for the offshore wind industry in New York City. A partnership between two local economic development organizations, SBIDC and BOC Network, the program aims to increase disadvantaged business enterprises’ (DBEs) awareness of and access to offshore wind opportunities over the next three years through workshops, networking events, a monthly newsletter, and through direct technical assistance.  

To build capacity for local S/M/W/DBE firms to access this sector, SBIDC and BOC will prioritize education, outreach, and technical assistance to help companies understand the offshore wind supply chain and procurement processes, including how to navigate certification requirements and the investments required to achieve procurement opportunities. Our program will provide mentorship and networking opportunities to help these businesses build relationships with potential customers and partners. 

Organization Bio: SBIDC and BOC Network  

For 45 years, SBIDC has been dedicated to creating economic opportunity in Southwest Brooklyn, serving the diverse communities of Sunset Park, Red Hook, and Gowanus. Our unique approach combines support for small businesses and job seekers along the industrial waterfront. As stewards of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone, we provide free technical assistance to 2000+ industrial and manufacturing enterprises, a unique role in the area. We also manage the Brooklyn Workforce1 Industrial & Transportation Center, placing over 200 individuals annually in full-time industrial, transportation, and construction positions, a testament to our trusted partnerships with local businesses. Our commitment extends to educational initiatives, including the Plan for Growth program, empowering 130+ S/M/W/DBEs since 2016. We take pride in delivering quality business development services, curricula, and tailored educational programming, offering valuable workshops and networking opportunities year-round. 

Our partner in Wind Connections is the Business Outreach Center Network Inc. and its affiliate CDFI BOC Capital Corp. (BOC). BOC is a community-based small business development organization with over 25 years of experience in delivering business development services targeted to women and entrepreneurs of color in largely minority and immigrant communities in all five New York City boroughs, Long Island, and Newark, New Jersey. BOC is the NYC Industrial Business Solutions Provider for Brooklyn East (ENY area) and Queens Central.  BOC leads Ascend NYC in partnerships with Columbia University, designed to build capacity and connect growth-oriented Black- and Latino-owned firms with market access opportunities. Its Minority Business Development Administration (MBDA) Manhattan Business Center is a regional center focused on supporting MBE participation in infrastructure projects in the NYC Metropolitan Area and beyond. BOC is committed to developing content with industry partners that will advance the prospects of M/W/DBE contractors to participate in the green building economy.  

BOC affiliate CDFI, BOC Capital Corp. (BCC) delivers contract-based financing and hands-on technical assistance and training. BOC Capital Corp. participates as an SBA Microlender and is a participating lender with the Empire State Small Business Revolving Loan Fund,  NYS Construction Financing Program and the NYC Contract Financing Loan Fund. BOC Capital offers a customized menu of training and technical assistance services customized for M/W/DBE construction contractors, building upon its experience designing and delivering added value programs for M/W/DBE construction contractors for NYCEDC for ten years and leads NYCEDC ConstructNYC.