The first graduates of a program meant to educate Vineyarders to repair and maintain offshore wind turbines celebrated the hard work they put in to achieve their certificates on Saturday at a gathering at Nomans in Oak Bluffs. The program they participated in is a joint venture between the M.V. Center for Education and Training (MVCET, formerly ACE MV) and Bristol Community College. It began in 2020 with seed funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
Katie Ruggieri, associate dean of STEM at Bristol Community College, described the certificate program as a first of its kind, and called the graduates “pioneers” in a new industry.
Four graduates were on hand to receive their certificates on Saturday: Miles Brucculeri, Michael Friedman, Patrick Cassidy, and Messias Albuquerque. Graduates Clint Baker, Gabriel Bellebuono, John Twombly, and Charlie Rice were unable to attend. Another student, Melanie Englert, will graduate in December.
The graduates enter an industry that’s actively recruiting. Vineyard Wind, for example, recently held a job fair in Oak Bluffs.
“The industry seems too interesting, too exciting to ignore,” Cassidy said.
Brucculeri, with his daughter Nanette under his arm, said when the wind turbines are erected, he wants to be on them, working. Given that the turbines will be quite tall, he also said isn’t afraid of heights.
Vineyard Wind is presently in the process of building Vineyard Wind 1, America’s first industrial-scale offshore wind farm. To service that farm, Vineyard Wind plans to run boats out of the Tisbury Marine Terminal, a helicopter out of Martha’s Vineyard Airport, and to build an operations and maintenance facility at the old Hinckley lumberyard in Vineyard Haven. Vineyard Wind 1 is expected to generate about 40 year-round jobs on the Vineyard.
Friedman said he took the course because it sounded “very interesting,” and because “it’s the future.”
Albuquerque, a Catholic priest on sabbatical, said he told his bishop, “Until now I save souls, now I’m going to save the planet — clean energy.” Albuquerque said his bishop gave him the green light.
Albuquerque said God had guided his life toward the training.
“The people who’ve completed these classes,’ MVCET executive director Holly Bellebuono said, “have really done a phenomenal job.”