The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, as part of its ongoing effort to fuel solutions for the marine industry’s top challenge — workforce shortages — donated $100,000 to the MRAA Educational Foundation, a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization with a mission to provide education, scholarships and programs to develop a stronger marine industry workforce.
When the association battled through a significant revenue drop in 2020, due to the cancellation of the in-person MRAA Dealer Week conference and expo, several leading industry organizations made donations of a combined $100,000 to help the MRAA endure the pandemic.
Throughout 2020, MRAA adjusted its business to counter the revenue shortfall and managed its expenses to the point that it broke even, financially. The $100,000 in industry donations, then, gave the association a net income of $100,000 on the year. At that time, the MRAA staff went to the MRAA Board of Directors to recommend that the organization recognize those companies’ generosity by paying it forward and investing those funds into building and strengthening the marine industry labor pool through a donation to the MRAA Educational Foundation.
“The MRAA exists solely to support the growth and success of our industry and specifically the dealers that serve boaters in their local community,” explains Matt Gruhn, MRAA president. “We always explain to our members and our partners that when they invest in MRAA through their membership, through Dealer Week, through Dealership Certification, or any other means, the MRAA reinvests those funds right back into the industry. Paying this donation forward by investing it in workforce solutions powered by the MRAA Educational Foundation, is the perfect example of that philosophy.”
The MRAA Educational Foundation’s strategic plan takes an aggressive approach to solving personnel challenges. By developing regional stakeholder collaboratives across the country, also known as sectoral partnerships, employers can address area-specific labor pool challenges such as the marine technician shortage. This tactic is the best-practice approach to workforce development supported by federal and state workforce development funding streams.