Students building skills in R.I. marine trades

‘We have a lot of people coming up [for] retirement.’

If you pay them, they will come – to the International Yacht Restoration School’s Summer Work & Learn program, that is. More

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MARINE INDUSTRY

Students building skills in R.I. marine trades

‘We have a lot of people coming up [for] retirement.’

PBN PHOTO/DAVID LEVESQUE
PUTTING IN WORK: Steve Eaton, left, a vocational teacher at Mt. Hope High School, works with students in a boat-building class offered through RIMTA.
Posted 7/23/12

If you pay them, they will come – to the International Yacht Restoration School’s Summer Work & Learn program, that is.

And hopefully they will learn enough about the marine and boating trade to develop a sustained interest in the field and, just maybe, later on pursue a career in that industry.

“You can’t start early enough,” said Susan Daly, vice president of marketing at IYRS. “It’s always good whenever a kid goes and gets a summer job [in whatever] peaks their interest. [This is] just another way of letting people see what a phenomenal industry it is and what great career opportunities there are.”

Ten middle and high school students, starting earlier this month, became temporary, part-time employees under the program, for which IYRS developed the curriculum four years ago.

The Rhode Island Marine Trade Association started running the program shortly after when the two organizations joined forces to take advantage of funding through the Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island. The latter organization, which works with local industries to increase labor and training initiatives, has annually granted RIMTA $34,500 to run the IYRS program and the RIMTA Ocean Sustainability Summer Work and Learn program.

“The ultimate goal is to keep kids interested and possibly moving on to a career as a boat builder or anything related,” said Jen Cornwell, workforce-development coordinator at RIMTA. “We have a lot of people coming up [for] retirement so we do a lot of work with youth.”

That’s at least the case for the IYRS program, which is taught out of Mt. Hope High School in Bristol and includes field trips to IYRS and the Museum of Yachting in Newport, as well as guest speakers.

For six weeks those 10 participants will work 20 hours per week, through Aug. 16, to learn boat building – culminating in the actual building of class boats.

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