Students in the
experience in a
wide range of skills
needed for jobs in
the marine trades.
program for Rhode
Islanders has an
no one to fill them.
“It’s a real problem,” says Thomas
Marhevko, senior vice president of
engineering standards for the National
Marine Manufacturers Association.
“Our boatbuilding members say they
want to expand, but there aren’t enough
people to hire.” Making matters worse,
high schools are cutting basic vocational
classes like woodworking, auto repair,
plumbing, electrical, and drafting, which
in the past funneled students into manufacturing and technical jobs.
The economic downturn of a decade
ago had a huge effect on the marine
industry, which was essentially cut in
half from where it was at its height in
2008. The weaker manufacturers went
out of business; the stronger ones diversified. The industry has been recovering,
but many of the best of the displaced
skilled labor force found work in other
industries and have not returned.
Bridging the technical divide
“Manufacturers need to advertise this
as a viable industry for a young person,”
says Marhevko, “and make it attractive
by providing training.”
doing just that
a national bro-
ker, lender, and
company that has
seen its employee
base aging and
shrinking and wit-
nessed a large gap
when it comes to
hiring new skilled
workers to fill
schools do a
great job in the
MarineMax director of operations.
“But candidates are coming into our
dealerships trained in the basics, with-
out the necessary real-world experi-
ence with different brands and different
So this past fall, MarineMax started
a program to bridge the educational gap
your education? Each
of dollars in
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