NW boatbuilders start workforce-training program

SKAGIT VALLEY, Wash. – Several boat manufacturers in the Pacific Northwest have joined forces to create a program that will expand the pool of skilled workers available to staff their facilities, the Skagit Valley Herald reported in a story yesterday.

Aluminum-boat builder WorkSkiff recently joined several other boat manufacturers in supporting the creation of the Northwest Center of Excellence for Marine Manufacturing and Technology. The center is described as a “one-stop shop” resource focused on staying abreast of emerging technologies and employment trends and developing training programs to meet the industry’s needs, according to the Herald.

WorkSkiff told the newspaper that boosting the number of skilled workers in the area is key to maintaining – and expanding – what has become a key industry in many parts of Washington.

Along with WorkSkiff, local manufacturers that have been involved with the development of the program include Nordic Tug, Nichols Brothers, Northern Marine and Janicki Industries, a company that designs and builds molds used in boat construction.

Money for the program is coming from an initial state grant of $100,000. The program seeks to establish a central place for the marine trades industry, where anyone wanting training or information on marine technology can go, the newspaper reported.

Skip Burdon, of the American Boat and Yacht Council, told the Herald the facility could eventually become a national resource on marine manufacturing.

“We have learned our lesson here on the East Coast,” Burdon said. “States that aren’t doing anything to support the industry are losing it.”

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