Cecil College is launching a new program to help grow the workforce for the marine trades, an industry that continues to see employee shortages.
The Marine Service Technician program was just announced in November.
The program will serve as an introduction to the marine service industry. Using American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) curriculum, it will teach students “the fundamentals of marine engines, outboard and inboard maintenance, marine electrical systems, boat safety, industry standards and more.”
It will be located at the Bohemia Vista Marina along the Bohemia River in Chesapeake City, Maryland. Safe Harbor Marinas, which manages Bohemia Vista, pledged to build what they call a state-of-the-art facility that will serve as the program’s training ground. Students will have hands-on experiences at a real marina environment.
“The Marine Service Technology program prepares students for in-demand jobs while meeting the workforce need for skilled marine technicians in Cecil County and greater Maryland,” said Cecil College President Dr. Mary Way Bolt. “This program strengthens our local workforce and reinforces Cecil County’s reputation as a center of marine excellence.”
The program is furthered by the donation, just announced, of a training boat from ABYC. The boat had previously been used for research and testing of alternative fuels. Students can now use the boat as a training ground to repair or replace various systems, including conducting computer readings of the ECM (engine control module).
Brian Goodwin, ABYC technical director, says of the donation, “We are happy that this boat will continue to be a valuable resource, now enriching the learning experience of Cecil College students.”
The marine services program will ultimately benefit Bohemia Vista and other Bay marinas and boatyards. Cecil County, Maryland’s marinas have had to recruit widely and draw works from across the nation because of a shortage of qualified candidates locally.
“At Cecil College, we prioritize staying attuned to the demands and shifts in the industry. The evident need for an expanded marine technology workforce was a clarion call for us, one that we could not ignore,” says Miles Dean, Dean for Continuing Education and Workforce Development.
Students who complete the program can earn their Marine Service Technician certificate, opening the door to paying jobs in the industry.
He says the first cohort is already underway and will complete its program on January 4. The next cohort begins in February. This staggered enrollment allows a steady stream of students to join the program. The program has seen substantial interest, as 60 percent of the available seats were filled the first day. Dean also finds employers are eager to hire program graduates.
It’s a win-win for our local marina owners, Safe Harbor, and Cecil College,” said Dean.
-Meg Walburn Viviano