Workforce Development in the Blue Economy By Jenifer Becker

Updated: Jan 22, 2020

Jen Becker (center) speaking on a panel at Grand Central Tech after her presentation at “World Water Day: Our Blue Economy.”

Hurricane Sandy barreled through New York City and the East Coast five and a half years ago, bringing millions of gallons of water into our streets and in some cases, into our homes. Since then, the city has undertaken numerous initiatives to combat flood risk due to sea level rise and carbon-intensive energy use. Projects include: the BIG U, a proposal supported by the City of New York to protect 10 miles of Lower Manhattan’s coast from storms, and 80x50, a ‘roadmap’ from the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.

Despite these and other high-profile efforts, after five and a half years, many people and institutions have forgotten about the damage Sandy wrought and have reverted back to business as usual. The danger of this is not only that the city will be unprepared for the next major storm event, but that there will be severe economic consequences. As Daniel Zarrilli, New York City’s Chief Resiliency Officer, put it, “There’s coastal real estate at risk, consequences to job creation, and the natural impact of climate on the lowest income residents in New York City…People might have to move or migrate.” [1]