Ocean School development receives support of Sen. Kerry

BOSTON — During the 55th annual New England Boat Show, members and guests of the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association were presented with plans for the development of an “Ocean School” in Scituate, Mass.

The Marine and Environmental Education Alliance, which comprises supporters overseeing the development of the Ocean Center Campus for Marine and Environmental Studies, shared their vision for the future growth of the Massachusetts marine trades. The following week the MEEA successfully made its case to U.S. Senator John Kerry, receiving a commitment to support the project’s goals.

The MEEA is just beginning to raise the estimated $12 million development cost and Senator Kerry cautioned that the chances of Federal funding are remote. However, supporters remain confident.

Demand for jobs combined with the marine industry’s demand for skilled technicians is a recipe for success, according to Ed Lofgren of 3A Marine, Chairman of MMTA’s Education Committee and a member of the Alliance.

“At last – a school that will prepare technicians for jobs and careers in all facets of marine and ocean technologies,” said Ed Lofgren of 3A Marine. “The Ocean Campus Center is the culmination of years of effort by MMTA, its educational affiliate, MMTET, Massasoit Community College, concerned citizens of Scituate, the South Shore and throughout Massachusetts, as well as the South Coastal Workforce Board and the ‘Jobs In Boating’ state grant secured several years ago. This is nothing less than The Future and an educational ‘WOW,'”

When making the Ocean School presentation, MEEA Chairman Jeffrey Rosen said the non-profit center will create jobs. Rosen approached Scituate’s Board of Selectmen in the fall to propose a land lease of underutilized property within walking distance of the waterfront and the commuter rail.

The 30,000-square-foot facility with the capacity to serve up to 1,500 students a week will offer training for marine trades jobs. MEEA will partner with Massasoit Community College, a college that has been training students in marine tech trades for the past thirteen years, to help create the curriculum and run the facility.

“Marine technicians are in demand but training opportunities are few and far between,” said Jack Kent III of Bayside Marine, MMTA President. “It is little wonder that enrollment at vocational-technical schools is up and that President Obama’s recent visit to Massachusetts began at Boston Technical.”

The MMTA Board of Directors has committed to endorsing the development of the Ocean School and Senator Kerry assigned a member of his staff to oversee his office’s efforts to support the project.

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