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Boatbuilders get involved for Manufacturing Month

By Adam Quandt

October was declared Manufacturing Month across a multitude of different industries. The National Marine Manufacturers Association encouraged members of the marine industry to participate by hosting an event to promote and educate others about the boating industry.

Last year, a record 300,000 students, parents and teachers nationwide gained insight into modern-day manufacturing. Manufacturing Day, according to a survey from DeLoitte, has resulted in the following for participating students:

• 89 percent are more aware of manufacturing jobs in their communities,
• 84 percent are more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding,
• 64 percent are more motivated to pursue careers in manufacturing, and
• 71 percent are more likely to tell friends, family, parents, or colleagues, about manufacturing after attending an event.

The NMMA viewed the awareness month as an opportunity for the boating industry to educate the public about marine manufacturing and build the industry’s work force. 

The association also sought the opportunity to boost the marine industry’s advocacy efforts by engaging local decision makers and illustrating the positive economic and community impact of marine manufacturing.

Various boatbuilders around the industry took the opportunity to reach out to local communities, including Barletta Boats, Boston Whaler, and Correct Craft.

Barletta Pontoon Boats hosted six separate tour groups from three local schools, as part of its involvement with Manufacturing Month.

“Most of the students had no idea how connected we are to the world,” said Goshen Middle School counselor Linda Dickerson, “but that was a byproduct of our original intent.”

The goal of the tours was to show students the career possibilities after high school or college, and raise awareness for career pathways they may otherwise not know about. 

“We take great pride in our manufacturing team, and our manufacturing team takes great pride in the work they do,” said Bill Fenech, president and co-owner of Barletta. “I think our team members were just as excited to share as the students were to learn.”

Additionally, many of the students were able to see the connection between coursework at school, and how it is intertwined in everyday manufacturing environments. Math, science, public communication, problem-solving, and creativity were just a few examples that confront manufacturing teams on a consistent basis.

“It shows what you can do with a strong work ethic,” Dickerson said, who was on the tour with students at GDC, Inc. “The opportunities for advancement are impressive.”

“We’ve hired the best-of-the-best for our manufacturing team. Many of the students saw family members, friends of family, and neighbors,” Fenech said. “It was a great experience for all involved, and a great source of pride to be able to highlight our team.”

Boston Whaler boatbuilding experts stepped into local classrooms in Volusia County, Fla. to share information with middle school and high school students about modern manufacturing techniques as well as future career opportunities. 

Boston Whaler representatives Director of Business Systems Nate Abdalian and Vice President of Strategic Engagement Rebecca Crews recently visited Burns Science and Technology Charter School in Oak Hill, Fla. The VMA provided all students with a tape measure tool and ruler to augment a Whaler-prepared presentation and video about the discussion topic and company. Whaler also brought several difficult-to-measure boat parts to illustrate their points and to challenge the middle school tech students.  

“Giving back to students in our area, showing the importance of proper measurement and career opportunities at Boston Whaler, and that Boston Whaler Boats are made less than 10 minutes from their school was a great message to share with our potential workforce of the future,” Abdalian said.

“I know the students and teacher, Jill Mucci, were excited to have a local company like Boston Whaler interact and spend time with them. Nate and I also were impressed with what the students are working with modern technologies that will play a larger role in manufacturing going forward,” Crews said.

Correct Craft and its manufacturing companies across the country also participated in Manufacturing Day by hosting students at its factories.

Five Correct Craft plants from Florida to California invited students to learn about both boat manufacturing processes and job opportunities in marine manufacturing. Correct Craft companies also gave the students plant tours.

Centurion and Supreme Boats partnered with the Merced County Office of Education who brought local high school students to the factory.

The Centurion and Supreme teams provided the students an opportunity to see first-hand how boats are built and see the great jobs that exist in manufacturing.

Bass Cat and Yar-Craft Boats partnered with local schools and hosted students at their factory for a comprehensive tour and informed them about careers in marine manufacturing.

Nautique Boats partnered with the Manufacturers Association of Central Florida to bring Lake Nona High School students to the Nautique factory for an in-depth tour and presentation.

Pleasurecraft Engine Group (PEG) partnered with the Lexington Richland 5 Center for Advanced Technical Studies (MEBA), who brought students to the factory for a detailed tour of machining, production, and to learn more about careers in engine manufacturing. 

SeaArk Boats partnered with local high schools and invited students in the agriculture/trade programs to the SeaArk factory for a thorough tour of their facility. Students learned how SeaArk boats are built and heard about the variety of careers available at SeaArk after they graduate.

Each year, Manufacturing Day is a great experience for Correct Craft teams and the students who visit, said Correct Craft President and CEO Bill Yeargin.

“We enjoy giving the next generation opportunities to learn about boat manufacturing and sharing the enthusiasm we have for our products and what we do,” Yeargin added. “Students who visited our companies were able to increase their knowledge about the marine industry and hear about Correct Craft’s culture of Making Life Better.”

 

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