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Rhode Island starts marine apprentice program

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Rhode Island starts marine apprentice program

The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) has received state approval and grant money to launch a pre-apprenticeship and an apprenticeship program for the state’s marine trades.

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

The pre-apprenticeship program will consist of 205 hours of training for individuals 18 years and older and give participants hands-on skills training in several entry-level areas, including painting, varnishing, composites, hauling, rigging, fork and travel lift operation, shrink wrapping, and winterizing and commissioning. Participants will also 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.

The seeds for the program were planted when Guy Gauvin, the product of an apprenticeship program himself who is now yard manager at The Hinckley Company, looked at the skilled tradesmen working at his yard: the vast majority of whom would be retiring within 15 years. Working in partnership with RIMTA, Hinckley decided to develop a program where younger workers could learn alongside master journeymen. Although the apprenticeship model is common in the boating business in places such as New Zealand, it is rare in the United States. Rhode Island is among the first states to put these training programs into place for the marine industry.

The Rhode Island Marine Trades Apprenticeship Training Program will develop apprentices’ skills on the job and offer them an opportunity to train in a variety of areas, including: carpentry, rigging, electronics, electrical engineering, painting, and other areas. The term of an individual’s apprenticeship can range between two and five years, depending on the area(s) they choose.

Hinckley will be the first company to accept apprenticeship applicants, and the first group of applicants will begin their training in January; Hinckley will accept up to six apprentices every six months.

Applications for the Marine Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program are available at www.RIMTA.org. 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 also with 10 participants.

Applications for the Marine Trades Apprenticeship Training Program will be posted at the RIMTA  in September. Completed applications will be due in late October for applicants who hope to start at Hinckley in January 2014. Hinckley will accept up to six applicants every six months; other employers in the state are expected to join the program within the year.

For more information, visit www.RIMTA.org.

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