NJ Student Day: Gloucester County

By Favio Germán, Community Engagement Manager

October 30th, 2023

Last week the Attentive Energy Two team partnered with the Gloucester County Boys and Girls Club to host a NJ Student Day that provided members from the Paulsboro and Glassboro Clubs an overview of the local offshore wind industry and related career pathways. Throughout the day, students learned about the environmental, economic, and community impacts of offshore wind, as well as the state of the industry in NJ. Through the events, students also connected directly with Attentive Energy team members that are working in the industry, with Paulsboro Councilmembers Karen Armistead and Jennifer Turner who are leading local youth initiatives, Timi Lindsay, a retired U.S Navy Captain and local leader and her daughter Elise Lindsay, a recent graduate of the US Naval Academy to learn about their career paths, and representatives of the MRV Group. 

The day’s agenda provided students the following experiences: 

  1. An overview on offshore wind, the impetus of the industry in NJ, and the economic and environmental benefits it will bring; 
  1. Learn about the local offshore wind supply chain and ports, and through a hands-on activity, simulate the transfer of large offshore wind components from manufacturing facilities to marshalling; 
  1. Pilot a virtual vessel through an offshore wind farm in a virtual reality environment; 
  2. Get a glimpse into the job of a Wind Turbine Technician by climbing up virtual wind turbines; 
  3. Learn about the different types of jobs that will be created through the industry. 

 Following a successful program, the team provided the students with a survey to gauge their learning throughout the session. Some of the findings include: 

  • 75% of the students said they’d be interested in exploring a career in offshore wind;  
  • 100% of the students said they want to work to make the environment healthier; 
  • 95% of students were able to correctly identify a wind turbine and monopile after the session; 
  • 75% of students said they now know ‘a lot’ about the offshore wind industry;  
  • Students were also interested in learning how marine life will be impacted and were impressed to hear about the Attentive Energy project is prioritizing environmental health.  

The students’ favorite activity was overwhelmingly the virtual reality exercise as it gave them a chance to experience, ‘up close’, the scale of the industry – both by navigating a vessel in a wind farm and scaling a turbine. The primary takeaway from the New Jersey Student Days is that hands-on learning is critical for this new industry and that real world exposure leaves a very lasting impression on the student and creates long-term familiarity with the content and opportunity. This takeaway runs parallel with our learnings from our other NJ Student Days in Newark and Sicklerville, NJ.  

Here’s what else we learned:  

  • Adding friendly competition to the activities keeps youth engaged: For this Student Day, our team created a new activity called ‘Transfer the Monopiles’ that simulated what transferring large offshore wind components like monopiles through the state might entail. During this activity, the team created a mini-obstacle course that included mock bridges, monuments, and twist and turns that the youth had to navigate through, all the while working in pairs to ‘carry’ the monopiles. The activities were timed and to complete the activity, the teams had to describe the difference between marshalling and manufacturing ports. 
  • Virtual reality is an exciting way to teach the abstract concepts of offshore wind: This has been a consistent learning for our team across our NY and NJ Student Days. Like last time, Attentive Energy learned, and witnessed first-hand how engaged the youth were with the use of VR technology. Not only were they able to immediately interact with the technology but experiencing the scale of the projects through VR excited them about the potential jobs to come. 
  • Representation in the classroom matters: The diversity of the Attentive Energy team and the local leaders invited to speak and observe the event helped foster genuine connections with the students and provided them points of reference to what a professional in the industry and local leadership can look like. 
  • Capacity building for teachers is critical: The success of the Student Days was based on the buy-in from the Club members that helped facilitate the sessions. Not only did teachers act as trusted messengers to the information shared by the team, but by exposing them to the topics, teachers can then take the learnings into the classroom and make real-life connections to offshore wind for the students.  

The Attentive Energy Two team would like to extend a massive thank you to the Gloucester County Boys and Girls Club, Anchor Leadership Solutions LLC, Paulsboro Councilmembers Karen Armistead and Jennifer Turner and the MRV Group for their partnership in bringing students closer to the offshore wind industry. This Student Day affirmed that young people are interested in fighting climate change but are lacking the proper avenues and tools to participate in positive action. The prioritization of early K-12 engagement in offshore wind is paramount to forging a new industry, strengthening our communities, creating that future workforce, and achieving our shared climate and economic goals. Our team looks forward to continued engagement with the youth community on offshore wind careers and ensuring all communities, particularly those that have been historically excluded, are present for offshore wind’s multi-decade opportunity.   

About Student Days: 

Student Days are a staple of Attentive Energy’s Community Engagement Strategy. These events are designed in partnership with local leaders to create culturally relevant and accessible programming to increase youth interest in the offshore wind industry and jobs. To date, Attentive Energy has reached over 250 students in NJ through Student Days in Newark, Sicklerville, and now Paulsboro. In 2022, Attentive Energy also hosted the NYC Student Day in partnership with the State University of New York Maritime College and Horizons National which benefited youth from across New York City.  Student Days have been incredibly helpful for Attentive Energy to understand local dynamics and how to shape an industry that will benefit the State’s future leaders. 

To learn more about NJ Student Days, please reach out to Attentive Energy’s Community Engagement Manager, Favio German, at favio.german@totalenergies.com