American Boatbuilders and Repairers Association distributes nationwide survey, conference session on marine industry workforce

NEWPORT, R.I. — The American Boatbuilders and Repairers Association (ABBRA) has taken the lead on defining the U.S. marine industry’s workforce needs, challenges and solutions with a nationwide survey and a follow-up working session with experts, to be held at the International Boatbuilders Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) in mid-September in Louisville (KY).

The survey will gather data on the skill level of the current workforce, basic demographic information on marine workers, hiring needs across the country, labor shortages, areas of skill deficiency and effective training solutions.

“I encourage every marine-trades employer in the U.S. to complete this important survey,” said Pam Lendzion, executive director of ABBRA. “The resultant data will be a powerful tool – both to define where we are, and to help us create solutions for building a workforce that meets the technological challenges of our industry.”

According to Lendzion, the data will also give the industry a statistical profile of the workforce, which is needed by state-level marine trade associations when appealing for state and federal funding for training programs.

The survey is now being distributed throughout the country via each region’s marine trade association. Employers who have not yet received the survey can click here to access. Survey results will be revealed to the industry at a day-long working session with experts, to be held in mid-September at the IBEX conference. This first-time event, called the Super Session, is organized by ABBRA in partnership with the Marine Industry Training & Education Council (MITEC), Maine Marine Trades Association (MMTA), and Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA).

Experts who have been successful in developing training programs in their respective regions will speak at the Super Session and also lead interactive working sessions with attendees. Topics to be covered during the session will include employers’ options for hiring and training technically skilled workers, working with U.S. veteran placement agencies, accessing state and federal funding, and an overview on apprenticeship programs and why they are a viable training option for the recreational marine industry.

Results of the survey will be sent to all national and state marine trade associations that distributed the survey to their members. Contact lists will be provided for agencies and organizations focused on filling marine industry jobs with qualified workers. Speakers will have information available that supports their session topics.

Session speakers will include: Rich Difede, Gold Coast Yachts, Chris van der Hor, general manager of the New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organization and COO of the New Zealand Marine Industry Association; Campbell Black and Peter Dahl, owners and operators of Quadrant Marine Institute; Susan Swanton, executive director of MMTA; Wendy Mackie, CEO of RIMTA; Jen Cornwell, program director of RIMTA; and Holly Ashton, IYRS director of experiential education & career services.

“In our home state, we have been successful in securing funding and developing a ladder of training programs — from programs to introduce high school students to our industry, to training programs for workers that have translated directly into jobs,” says Wendy Mackie of RIMTA. “The data from this survey and the shared ideas in the Super Session will be enormously helpful in moving our industry one step closer to building the workforce we need to fuel our businesses.”

The Super Session takes place on September 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the IBEX conference in Louisville, Ky. To register to attend the session, contact Meg Toppa at and 401-236-2466.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

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

Back to top button