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R.I. Marine Trades pre-apprenticeship program gains momentum

By Rhode Island Marine Trades

BRISTOL, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Marine Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program, a 5 1Ž2-week training program that gives students a foundation of skill on which to launch their careers, is gaining momentum. On Friday, March 28, a second class of pre-apprentices in this new program will matriculate—and several students are heading to graduation with full-time job offers in hand.

Funded by an Innovative Partnership grant awarded by the Governor’s Workforce Board RI, this program is coordinated by the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) with area schools and businesses. During the program, 12 students have studied with instructors at CCRI, Confident Captain, IYRS and the New England Institute of Technology; they have toured leading businesses; they have learned from seasoned professionals at Hinckley, J. Huber Restorations, and Rhode Island Marine; and each student has done six days of job shadowing at area companies.

During the first round of the Pre-Apprenticeship Program, run in summer 2013, two companies stepped up to offer job shadowing and all graduates were placed in full-time jobs 30 days after graduation. According to RIMTA Workforce Development Coordinator Jen Cornwell, this term the marine industry’s interest in this program has risen exponentially.

“This term, eight companies offered job shadowing to our students. The best part is that having a larger group of companies allows us to better match each student’s interests to a company,” said Cornwell. “I expect that our job placement after graduation will go quickly, as job shadowing stints often turn into full-time offers.”

The Pre-Apprenticeship Program is only one element of a larger plan in Rhode Island to cultivate a strong workforce for the marine trades. As boating business rebounds and more skilled labor is needed, the workforce is graying and not enough young people are choosing the marine industry as a career path. RIMTA, area schools, and the marine industry work in concert to correct this trend, with programs at area trade schools such as NEIT, MTTI and IYRS; programs at local High Schools; and programs coordinated by RIMTA with learning institutions and the industry.

All these efforts in Rhode Island are quickly establishing the Ocean State as a leader in marine-trades workforce development. The recent Career Day, hosted March 22 by RIMTA and IYRS, drew companies from eight states that travelled to Rhode Island to connect with workers being cultivated in the Ocean State.

Graduation for the Rhode Island Marine Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program takes place Friday, March 28 at the IYRS Newport campus, beginning at 4 pm. The individuals who have successfully completed the program and will be graduating include: David Brouillard (Scituate, Mass.), Andrew Conte, (N Providence, R.I.), Doug Ellis (Wakefield, R.I.), Frank Felipe (Cranston, R.I.), Alex Garcia (Providence, R.I.), Tom Kesson (Bristol, R.I.), Jay Lalli (Portsmouth, R.I.), Tyler Loomis (Tiverton, R.I.), Dan Madancy (Warwick, R.I.), Manny Silva (Middletown, R.I.), Greg Verdon (Narragansett, R.I.), and Joe Vigliotti (Scituate, R.I.).

The next round of the R.I. Marine Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program will be held in summer 2014. There is no cost for participants who train in the program, but acceptance is competitive. For more information, contact RIMTA Workforce Development Coordinator Jen Cornwell at jen@rimta.org.


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