Charles Industries president will match college donations

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Industry leader Joe Charles, president of Charles Industries, is issuing a challenge to the South Florida marine industry and recreational boaters: For every dollar donated to the Broward College Marine Technology Center of Excellence capital program, he will match it up to $25,000.

After touring the marine center facility, meeting instructors and students and learning about the curriculum, Charles was compelled to chair the marine center's capital program. In 2009, he personally contributed $50,000 and raised more than $500,000 in equipment and capital donations from the marine industry.

"By investing in Broward College's Marine Technology Center of Excellence, you are purchasing an insurance policy that assures future skilled technicians capable of professionally repairing and maintaining your vessel," Charles said in a statement.

"I was surprised to learn that a program like the one offered at Broward College was not already well-established in an area like South Florida," he added. "The college has the distinction of being the first in Florida to offer a two-year accredited degree in marine engineering and seamanship."

Chosen by American Boat and Yacht Council as one of seven national ABYC marine league schools, Broward College's Marine Technology Center is the only school in the region offering ABYC certification.

Broward College's Marine Technology Center of Excellence graduated its first class in 2009. The program is designed to provide boat/yacht manufacturers, dealers and boatyards with well-educated and skilled marine technicians.

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