Yamaha Marine became an official apprenticeship program with the U.S. Department of Labor, which should bring structure and dollars to service-technician programs.
The company became officially registered with the federal government last April, Joe Maniscalco, service division manager for Yamaha Marine Group, told Trade Only Today.
“What this means is we have outlined the required material for operating and conducting an apprentice program at authorized Yamaha dealerships,” Maniscalco said.
Because Yamaha is an authorized apprentice program, Yamaha dealers can also register with the government and receive funding to help offset training and apprentice costs.
The benefit of doing that is to bring structure to Yamaha’s training program, which falls under the umbrella of Yamaha Marine University.
Each state has different incentives for such programs. For example, Minnesota will commit $5,000 for a dealer apprenticeship program. New Jersey will provide 50 percent of the apprentice’s salary for six months. Yamaha is building a database of what each state offers to offset the dealer’s liability, said Ron Zastocki with Yamaha Marine.
To enroll, dealers can contact their state Department of Labor office, and support staff there will help them follow guidelines and register for program funding, Maniscalco said.
The company also has been working with high schools and colleges across the country to help implement marine outboard programs, Zastocki said.
"We've partnered with 53 schools nationally, and there are another 40 or 50 in the wings,” Zastocki said.
Those partnerships are getting noticed by non-boating media around the country.
The website Lake Expo reported on a recent partnership between Yamaha and the Camdenton School District in the Lake of the Ozarks area of Missouri, where marine technicians are in demand.
Yamaha reached out to LCTC last fall regarding the company’s new Technical School Partnership program.
The career and technical center already has a full-time daytime Marine Service Technology program for adult students, which includes 1,050 hours of training, as well as a daytime program for 11th and 12th graders called the Marine Power & Extreme Sports program. Now, students in both of those programs will be able to gain the Yamaha certification due to the partnership.
Lee County Public Schools have also adopted an outboard program to give students employability skills upon graduation from high school, said Beth Gedde, assistant principal of Mariner High School, in a YouTube video.
Kids who don’t want to immediately go into a four-year program can leave with a leg-up and a skill that can land them work, Gedde said.
Watch the 1-minute video here:
Yamaha is also donating its newest engines and paying to ship them to schools because there is such a lack of funding, particularly for technical and vocational training, Maniscalco said.
“We hope this will prompt other manufacturers to do something,” said Maniscalco, who received training through an apprentice program. “If they don’t, we're not turning around to see where they are trying to catch up to us. And if they do, it’ll only help the industry.”