The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) has been honored by the Rhode Island Governor’s Workforce Board (GWB) as recipient of the 2016 Workforce Innovation Award. The presentation was made at the GWB Annual Meeting, held May 19 in Warwick, R.I.
Governor’s Workforce Board Chair Constance Howes made the award presentation. RIMTA was chosen as this year’s recipient for its ingenuity and diligence in strengthening its workforce, shaping its industry and positioning Rhode Island as a worldwide leader among its peers.
“RIMTA has been, and remains, a staunch advocate for its members, an articulate voice for its industry, and a workforce innovation powerhouse in the State of Rhode Island,” was stated in remarks circulated at the meeting.
Honored guests and speakers at the ceremony included Governor Gina M. Raimondo, Rhode Island Senator Erin Lynch Prata, and R.I. Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen.
In selecting RIMTA as this year’s Innovation Award recipient, the Governor’s Workforce Board not only looked at the organization’s accomplishments in workforce development, but how those achievements have served to strengthen an important business sector in the state. In only five years, RIMTA has grown from an organization with 170 members and an annual budget of $170,000 to 280 members with a $1.3 million budget.
RIMTA training programs target the industry’s diverse workforce needs, including a Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program that is an important pipeline for hands-on, entry-level workers; a Summer Marketing Program that attracts Millennial-aged individuals into the industry; and boatbuilding programs for youth at area high schools. Programs for youth and college-age students not only attract younger career seekers but also help RIMTA and its members to better understand what excites these young people about the boating experience — which is critical information for the future growth of the industry.
RIMTA spearheaded the founding of the Composites Alliance of Rhode Island, an organization conceived when Senator Sheldon Whitehouse met with local industry to explore ways this industry sector could better market its capabilities, maximize its strengths, and develop its workforce. RIMTA is also the owner and manager of the Providence Boat Show.
RIMTA CEO Wendy Mackie accepted the award on the organization’s behalf, and included in her thanks insights into the approach that drives everything that RIMTA does.
“Our innovation doesn’t stop at workforce development,” said Mackie. “The only way we can be effective is with a holistic approach — of educating our workforce, promoting the joys of recreational boating and our members’ achievements and advocating for our industry. … We have a mantra that drives us, knowing that we need to be smarter and more efficient and always on a path to perfection.”