Grant to help state fill marine industry jobs

MILTON, Mass. – The Massachusetts recreational marine trades have received a $585,000 State Workforce Competitive Trust Fund Grant, the Massachusetts Marine Trades Educational Trust reported in a release yesterday.

Commonwealth Corp., a division of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce development, featured the “Jobs in Boating” grant award June 7 at a ceremony at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Mass.

Partners in the grant envision the establishment of a “Center of Excellence” for recreational marine trades’ education, training and workforce development with headquarters at the Professional Development Center, Massasoit Community College in Canton, Mass. It will be staffed full-time with a program coordinator to conduct outreach to potential marine studies candidates. The program coordinator will also be charged with establishing programs to educate and train candidates while enhancing existing programs.

Currently, community colleges in Massasoit and Bristol offer marine studies programs, as does the Benjamin Franklin Institute in Boston. MMTET and its partners are also assisting with efforts to establish similar programs at other Massachusetts colleges and are working with several high school administrators throughout the state seeking to establish more marine studies programs.

“This grant will alter recreational marine workforce development in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts forever,” said Ed Lofgren, MMTET trustee and MMTA director. “Prior to and throughout the grant writing process each partner committed time and resources to providing education, training and workforce development for the marine industry. The results will include filling the many job vacancies, particularly skilled technicians, training future trainers, establishing awareness of the marine industry and the many opportunities it holds, and setting up marine technical programs throughout the Commonwealth.

The WCTF award is the culmination of many years of effort by the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, Massachusetts Marine Trades Educational Trust, Massasoit Community College and our Workforce Boards, recently joined by Bristol Community College and MY-TURN, Inc. as well as key marine industry employer partners – 3A Marine Service of Hingham, A to Z Boatworks of Scituate, Burr Brothers Boats of Marion, C & E Distribution of Holbrook, Foster Rigging and Yacht Maintenance of Scituate, Marina Bay of Quincy, Mattapoisett Boatyard, Russo Marine of Medford and SeaCrest Marine Services of Quincy.

The Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund is a program designed to assist ‘critical and emerging’ industries in the Commonwealth to meet their workforce needs, including the solution to workforce issues in these industries. The recreational marine trades in MA have long suffered from a shortage of skilled workers, particularly technicians to build, ‘prep’, maintain, and service boats and marine engines. In addition, the WCTF was established by the State Legislature to enable a broad range of residents, including the aged, at-risk youth, under-skilled persons and under-served minorities to acquire education and skills necessary to move toward economic self-sufficiency through jobs and career opportunities.

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