Yamaha recently co-hosted a Maritime Education Consortium to train outboard motor instructors and technicians in Valdez, Alaska.
Two Yamaha trainers delivered Marine Certification Program curriculum to eleven instructors from the communities of Dillingham, Ketchikan, Soldotna, Juneau, Kodiak, Valdez, Kotzebue, Chevak, Kwigillingok, and Quinhagak. The instructors represented school districts, Alaska Maritime Education Consortium (AMEC) faculty, and representatives from the Coastal Villages Region Fund.
Inspired by the late Congressman Don Young, the training is the culmination of the Yamaha Marine Training Program Agreement signed by Governor Mike Dunleavy, University of Alaska President Pat Pitney, and former Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) Commissioner Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter, and Ben Speciale, President, Yamaha U.S. Marine Business Unit. The agreement established an infrastructure for Yamaha Marine products training across the state, specifically in remote regions. It also allows AMEC to acquire materials at or below cost, including outboard motors and tools.
“The late Congressman Don Young originally brought the need for more technicians in remote areas to our attention, and we are proud to be a part of a program that will ultimately allow us to train more technicians and improve our level of service to customers in Alaska,” said Joe Maniscalco, General Manager, Yamaha Marine Service. “This agreement highlights our commitment to marine technician career development, and we hope this is just the beginning of more training opportunities in Alaska.”
AMEC will work with the newly certified instructors to establish outboard motor maintenance and repair programs in their respective regions.
“This instructor training has made outboard training more accessible to Alaskans spanning the entire state,” said Anthony Gerasch, Marine Service Technology Instructor at Prince William Sound College. “This initiative will help Alaskans earn a living, work in Yamaha dealerships and fix outboards for people in their communities. Our partnership with Yamaha has been a gift and I thank them for their contributions. This will make a huge impact.”
The agreement between Yamaha and AMEC also expands the Yamaha Tech School Partner (TSP) program. Developed in 2015, Yamaha’s TSP program aims to develop a stronger marine technician workforce through a certified curriculum, Yamaha systems access and product donations used in the classroom for hands-on training. The first two schools to adopt the four modules of the Yamaha Marine Certification program are Prince William Sound College in Valdez and Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna. Through its agreement with Yamaha, AMEC purchased a broad spectrum of outboards and equipment for use at these two schools to thoroughly prepare students for careers as successful marine technicians in their communities.
The maritime business in Alaska includes 34,000 miles of coastline that produces more than 60 percent of the nation’s seafood harvest and generates millions of dollars for the state’s economy. Many Alaskan communities depend on a skilled workforce to service the boats and outboards that fuel a healthy, sustainable marine industry.
The Alaska Maritime Education Consortium (AMEC) is a partnership between The University of Alaska (UA) and the Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC). The mission of the AMEC is to “collaborate to prepare Alaskans for afloat and ashore careers that will support and strengthen the maritime workforce” by combining efforts to provide maritime training and education across the state. These careers align with the priority occupations in boat and ship building, vessel repair and maintenance, port maintenance and vessel operations identified in the 2014 Alaska Maritime Workforce Development Plan.