Maine college revives boat building program

EASTPORT, Maine — Maine’s Washington County Community College is reviving its Boat School after a one-year hiatus and is accepting applications for fall 2005, the Associated Press reported in a story this morning.

The school’s boat-building program has a revamped curriculum following the shutdown, which school officials blamed on poor enrollment.

"We heard loud and clear from Maine’s marine employers that there is an acute need for skilled boat builders and those working on marine systems," WCCC President Bill Cassidy said in a prepared release quoted by AP. "We’re excited to bring the program back, more invigorated, and building a stronger alliance with industry.

In addition to a revamped boat-building program – which will include an expanding focus on traditional wooden-boat building to encompass wooden-, fiberglass- and composite-boat construction and related marine systems – physical improvements are also being made.

The college is launching an aggressive recruitment drive, and a fund-raising effort for scholarships and program equipment, according to the news agency.

WCCC’s boat building program was originally launched in 1969 at what was then Washington County Vocational Technical Institute, and for more than 30 years provided graduates for hundreds of Maine boatyards and other marine employers, AP reported.

Maine’s $600 million boat-building industry employs nearly 5,000 people, with more than 1,500 of those jobs in Washington County.

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