R.I. trade group plans apprenticeship program

The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association announced Thursday that it received state approval and grant money to launch pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs for the state’s marine trades.

The Governor’s Workforce Board RI awarded $142,788 to the trade group to create the Rhode Island Marine Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program. The grant is part of $1.97 million in Innovative Partnership grants intended to bring employers and educational providers together to develop career opportunities for students, out-of-school youth, and unemployed or underemployed adults.

Both of the marine apprenticeship programs are the first of their kind for Rhode Island’s marine industry and the Ocean State is among the first states to develop training programs such as these for the marine industry.

“Obtaining state approval and funding from the Governor’s Workforce Board is a huge and exciting step forward for our entire industry,” Wendy Mackie, CEO of RIMTA, said in a statement. “These programs complete the work force-development pipeline our industry needs to grow and thrive. Not only are these programs a sound foundation for the Rhode Island marine trades, they also open up opportunity for individuals looking to build careers in this industry that is so important to the Ocean State.”

The pre-apprenticeship program will consist of 205 hours of training for individuals 18 and older and give participants a pathway to paid employment in an entry-level position or to post-secondary or apprenticeship training.

Working with educational and employer partners such as the International Yacht Restoration School, the New England Institute of Technology and Hinckley Yachts, the program will give participants hands-on skills training in entry-level areas such as painting, varnishing, composites, hauling, rigging, fork and Travelift operation, shrink wrapping, and winterizing and commissioning.

Participants also will receive training in safety procedures, knot tying, tool handling, industry terminology and overall job-readiness skills.

Five Rhode Island companies have already committed to hiring available candidates for job openings to ensure this program leads to real jobs, Mackie said. The seeds of the program were planted by a manager at Hinckley, one of the participating companies.

Hinckley will be the first company to accept apprenticeship applicants, and the first group of applicants will begin their training in January 2014. Hinckley will accept as many as six apprentices every six months, according to the release.

The trade association expects to have additional employers in place within the next 12 months. Ideal candidates will be 18 or older and have some exposure to the trades or are graduates of marine training schools such as New England Tech and IYRS.

Applications for the Marine Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program will be posted at the association website in mid-April and will be available at youth centers and career centers throughout the state. Completed applications will be due by the end of May. The first cycle of the program is slated to begin in mid-July with 10 participants; the second cycle will run in February 2014 with an additional 10.

Applications for the Marine Trades Apprenticeship Training Program will be posted at the association website in September and will also be available at youth centers and career centers.

Completed applications will be due in late October for applicants who hope to start at Hinckley in January 2014. Potential applicants can contact the association’s work force development coordinator Jen Cornwell for information at jen@rimta.org.


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