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MRAA Seeks $8 million Apprenticeship Grant

Striving to become the national apprenticeship hub for the boating industry, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas announced it’s seeking an $8 million, four-year federal grant to fund an initiative called “Building Out Apprenticed Trades (BOAT) Jobs.”

Wendy Mackie, MRAA director of workforce and foundation development, says the full application has been provided to the Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Building America program.

“MRAA’s national apprenticeship efforts will, among other things, provide technical assistance, support and funding to regional marine associations interested in serving their members with apprenticeship implementation,” Mackie says. “In addition, we expect to provide employer incentives for hiring and build out a national career awareness and recruitment effort over the next four years.”

The program for the boating and related marine industries will focus on supporting specific needs. Here are some highlights:

• Create and launch new registered apprenticeship programs in critical supply-chain positions.

• Attract engine technicians with preapprenticeship training.

• Focus on new workers by facilitating entry and/or articulation with high school and community college programs already utilizing American Boat and Yacht Council and/or Yamaha curriculums.

• Expand and build on, or replicate, existing successful registered apprenticeship programs.

• Provide industry engagement and support.

• Partner with and support marine trades associations nationwide in acting as workforce intermediaries, and create regional apprenticeship “sub-hubs.”

• Connect employers using registered apprenticeship programs to Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act programming and other local and/or regional resources. Where applicable, preapprenticeship training development or connection will be a focus.

• Expand the adoption of registered apprenticeship programs as a best practice in recruiting, training and retaining a workforce, including in rural and urban neighborhoods.

• Provide the curriculum development, training and support necessary for employers to successfully implement registered apprenticeship programs.

• Promotion and outreach: targeted recruitment of traditionally underrepresented populations, notably women, veterans, minorities and those with limited ability to speak English.

• Partnership building: Locate and build relationships with regional partners in sub-hub areas for recruitment, training and case-management services for apprentices.

Mackie has informed state and local associations in the National Marine Trades Council of this national effort. Those desiring to learn more and explore involvement are invited to contact Mackie at wendy@mraa.com. There will be additional opportunities for involvement and participation during the grant period, but getting in on the ground floor by indicating interest now is advisable.

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