VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS INITIATIVEMarine Trades Jobs Survey |
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The MMTA estimates that there are as many as 1600 technician jobs currently unfilled in our State. 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 our State in support of the twelve hundred and sixty recreational marine businesses here. Our Education Committee was given the task of finding and implementing solutions.
We actually found that the problem goes beyond the scope of marine technicians; we found that young persons are not entering recreational marine career paths so although we have had terrific business conditions the last few years, we have an aging workforce with a lack of young persons entering our workforce. Please read the MMTA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT POSITION PAPER.
Obviously, we are underserving 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.
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 made application for a grant and received same 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 the State that were delivering an exceptional product and who 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.
What we propose to do is to provide these vocational/technical high schools that have recreational marine programs, or who will establish programs, with Industry Partners. Most likely five or six of them at selected schools across the State. 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 will 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.
We have a successful pilot program in operation for two years at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Industry partner in this case is Mercury Marine. They have a three-year contract with the School and do indeed train their dealer personnel in the region at the school using Mercury Marine instructors, and utilizing, at times the high school instructors who are Mercury trained themselves. It has worked phenomenally well and provides our industry with ten to fifteen personnel annually, mostly technicians. The need is much greater, of course and, therefore, we are looking to set up an additional five or six schools in Massachusetts. And we are talking about college level instruction at Massasoit Community College, the University of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and elsewhere.
Massachusetts Marine Trades Educational Trust
P. O. Box 272
Milton, MA 02186
Dedicated to the Future of the Recreational Marine Trades in Massachusetts