NEWARK, NJ — A memorandum of understanding signed between the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Ørsted, the world leader in offshore wind development, lays the foundation for a partnership that will provide new needs-based support for undergraduate scholarships and pre-college STEM programs at NJIT, according to a recent press release.
The MOU entails a 10-year, $1.5 million agreement that would create new scholarship and career development opportunities in the field of offshore wind for NJIT’s engineering and computer science undergraduate students. The agreement also addresses STEM education gaps for underrepresented students in Newark by aiming to expand a range of STEM outreach events, initiatives and college-prep programming for local elementary, middle and high school students at NJIT, offered through the university’s Center for Pre-College Programs and the NJIT–Newark Math and Science Initiative.
The MOU is contingent upon Ørsted receiving an award from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for its Ocean Wind 2 project. Ocean Wind 2 would be a 1,200-megawatt offshore wind farm that would provide enough energy for 500,000 New Jersey homes.
“This agreement marks the beginning of a promising partnership that opens dynamic new opportunities for our hardworking and high-achieving students with one of the world’s leading developers of renewable energy projects. Just as important, it also bolsters NJIT’s longstanding commitment to improving access to STEM careers for young people in our city,” NJIT President Joel S. Bloom said. “We are grateful for Ørsted’s interest in partnering with NJIT, and we look forward to working with them in ways that support New Jersey’s transition to offshore wind and other green energy solutions in the years to come.”
“We’re proud to partner with an institution like NJIT that does a great job in preparing its students for the start of their careers, irrespective of their families’ financial situation,” said David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America. “This scholarship fund will ensure that the next generation of offshore wind IT workers are ready to step into the many new roles that will be available for them after graduation.”
Under the MOU, annual Ørsted Opportunity Scholarships would become available to NJIT undergraduate students pursuing degrees in fields of study related to Ørsted’s IT operations, such as electrical and computer engineering, information technology, computer science, and data science. Along with financial support and mentorship opportunities, the scholarships potentially create new co-op, internship and full-time job opportunities for NJIT students in areas related to offshore wind development, as well as IT infrastructure and operations at Ørsted’s new North American Digital Operations Headquarters being established in Newark.
The new partnership would also provide funding to NJIT’s CPCP, which currently offers in-school and after-school STEM programs to more than 3,000 local elementary and secondary school students each year. It would also serve to expand the number of Newark high school students that are able to pursue STEM degrees at NJIT through the university’s MSI program. The math-intensive program, launched in 2019 by CPCP, NJIT’s College of Science and Liberal Arts, the city of Newark and Newark Public Schools, aims to increase the number of Newark residents enrolled at NJIT for undergraduate education to 600 students in the next five years.