Universal Technical Institute (UTI) announced a three-year agreement with Bass Pro Shops to supply boats and accessory equipment to support the marine technician training program at UTI's Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI) campus in Orlando.
Through the agreement, Bass Pro Shops will supply seven fully loaded boats and related accessory equipment for use as training aids and will collaborate with MMI to enhance the curricula of the Capstone and Rigging courses in its Marine Technician Specialist program.
The new partnership gives students the opportunity to train on the latest models of fiberglass and aluminum boats as well as a pipeline to employment opportunities at 97 Bass Pro Shops Power Pro Service Centers across North America.
"Bass Pro Shops is widely recognized as the leading retailer in recreational boating and fishing, and we are thrilled to partner with them to help train the next generation of marine technicians," said John Dodson, vice president, business alliances at UTI.
"Interest in recreational boating continues to grow and we are experiencing strong demand for marine technicians at Bass Pro Service Centers across the country," said Wayne Stokes, director of retail operations for Bass Pro's Tracker Boat Center. "Collaborating with MMI to enhance the learning environment and introduce students to the excellent career opportunities at our Service Centers helps ensure that we can keep our customers' boats operating at peak efficiency for years to come."
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reports boat sales are strong for the $35.9 billion U.S. recreational boating industry. An estimated 238,000 new powerboats were sold in 2015, an increase of 8.5 percent compared to 2014. NMMA anticipates sales of new powerboats to increase as much as 7 percent in 2016.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports there will be more than 1.2 million jobs in the diesel, automotive, motorcycle and marine industries in the United States by the year 2024. To reach that total, the transportation industry will have to fill more than 37,000 technician job openings on average every year.
"Adding the nation's premier boating retailer to our team of marine engine manufacturer partners gives our students the opportunity to train on state-of-the-industry equipment from stem to stern and will further enhance their ability to deliver value to employers the moment they step into the shop," said Steve McElfresh, campus president of Universal Technical Institute, Motorcycle Mechanics Institute and Marine Mechanics Institute in Orlando.