Funding is MITEC’s biggest challenge

TAMPA, Fla. - The lack of qualified technicians is an ongoing problem in the marine industry. Shortages exist from coast to coast.

However, when boating industry officials meet with educators Monday in Tampa, Fla., for the second Conference on Marine Industry Technical Training, participants will gather knowing solutions to the problem are closer at hand than they've ever been before.

Much progress has been made since the inaugural COMITT meetings were held 12 months ago.

The Marine Industry Technical Education Council has been formed, problem areas have been identified and a structure has been put in place to deal with those issues. But now it's time that those seeds bear fruit.

This year's COMITT - which will be held Jan. 23-24 at the Safety Harbor Resort and is being sponsored by the American Boat & Yacht Council, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Professional BoatBuilder magazine - will function as a means to make that happen.

The theme of this year's conference is “Resources for Success.” Educators will learn about grant opportunities and manufacturer resources that can provide them both the funds and product to succeed. And businesses will hear about the training options and funding sources they can use to teach their employees.

Those interested in volunteering their time and expertise will also have the opportunity to serve on the several committees formed by MITEC to further the cause of technical education, and each of those committees will meet at the conference.

MITEC will meet the day before COMITT kicks off and begin to establish the goals that each of its committees will work toward.

“[MITEC's] major role is to really establish what technicians are and what programs are we going to bring about for what audience,” ABYC president Skip Burdon said. “And then from there, we're going to try and decipher specific goals for each one of our committees and how do we start implementing them. One of the biggest things that we're going to start is: A) a communications effort to communicate that we're out there and B) to try and raise some funding.”

Industry responds to request for volunteers

Burdon said that MITEC will have a cross section of between 120 to 150 individuals on its major committees once they are populated. He has already received about 50 responses since a release was sent out last week asking for volunteers.

“Our biggest challenge is going to be having the industry recognize that they need to help fund the initiative, because strictly speaking ABYC can only fund so much of this,” Burdon said. “MITEC is under ABYC to begin with and it will spring board, much like Grow Boating did with NMMA.”

Burdon said MITEC will be making a presentation to NMMA's Board of Directors at next month's Miami Boat Show about how its work integrates with COMITT and how that all works to grow boating.

“Education has embraced this, now we need industry to embrace it in order to support Grow Boating,” Burdon said. “I think industry is recognizing the fact that education plays a major role in the Grow Boating experience.”

  • For more of the latest news, click here.

- Jon Mohr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *