VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS INITIATIVE
CONTACT INFORMATION: Ed Lofgren
MMTA Education Chair and Trustee, Massachusetts Marine Trades Educational Trust
The MMTA estimates that there are hundreds of marine technician jobs currently
unfilled in the Commonwealth. And, the situation has prevailed for a number of
years with no relief in sight. We are well aware that this is a nationwide
problem. Our Association decided some time ago to try to resolve the problem in
Massachusetts in support of recreational marine businesses statewide. Our
Education Committee is tasked with finding and implementing solutions.
We have found that the problem goes beyond the scope of marine technicians:
young people are not entering recreational marine career paths. Although we have
improving business conditions, we have an aging workforce with a lack of young
persons entering it to fill the void. Please read the MMTA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
POSITION PAPER for further details.
Obviously, we are under-serving our (boating) clientele in a serious way. For
example, we found that delays of five to six weeks to repair a boat (in season)
were a very common occurrence. It became imperative that we find and implement
the solutions the MMTA called for.
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The Education Committee
allied itself with the State Workforce Board, which subsequently declared our
recreational marine trades a "critical and emerging" industry in our State. We
successfully applied for a grant for the purpose of educating incumbent workers
so that they could move up the ladder. This left a gap for entry level personnel
that led us to ally with public vocational technical high schools and with
college level technical institutes.
To our surprise and delight, we found a number of vocational/technical high
schools across Massachusetts that were delivering an exceptional product and
were willing to establish programs to train young persons to enter the
recreational marine trades, including the technicians we so desperately need.
These schools are a marvel of academic and technical education; we have had the
opportunity to visit with many.
these high schools are Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Marlborough High
School, Plymouth South, and Upper Cape Regional Technical School. Post secondary
schools include marine technical programs at Massasoit Community College
(Canton, MA), New England Institute of Technology (Warwick, RI); International
Yacht Restoration School (Newport, RI), and the Landing School (Maine).
What we proposed to do was to provide these technical schools and others that
would establish such programs, with Industry Partners. MMTA and Industry
Partners would have input into the programs. The MMTA and Industry Partners
would have input into the programs (the schools have actually asked for this),
input into shop set-ups, help with recruiting good instructors, etc. The
Industry Partners would provide technical assistance, training, product such as
outboards, inboards, stern drives, parts and service manuals, etc. The schools
would provide the high school instructors and the real estate (classrooms, labs,
and shops). There would be an opportunity for the Industry Partner to conduct
regional training on these high school sites, in those classrooms, labs, and
shops. The Industry Partner could train its local dealers in such a location
with its own instructors if desirable, or could use the high school instructors
or use them as assistants, of course, after proper training for them.
Massachusetts Marine Trades Educational Trust
P. O. Box 272
Milton, MA 02186
Dedicated to the Future of the Recreational Marine Trades in Massachusetts