Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) is expressing its support for the Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act, recently introduced in Congress.
The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act is intended to advance the capabilities of two-year community and technical colleges to assist the federal government and industry in securing the talent pipeline for domestic maritime industry jobs. This legislation will help fill a void in maritime and marine training and education programs.
The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act is being introduced in Congress with the support of a bipartisan group of legislators led by Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas).
“We are excited about the opportunity for growth in the maritime and shipbuilding industry, and we stand ready to work with manufacturers to meet their workforce needs now and in the future,” said Dr. Jeff Rafn, president of NWTC. “The college is committed to providing a skilled workforce for the nation’s North Coast.”
A shortage of qualified maritime workers and skilled trades workforce that build and repair ships and boats have been identified by U.S. industry leaders as the primary challenge to growth in the domestic maritime sector. The maritime industry requires technical skills training and licensing – even for entry-level positions. To earn appropriate credentials for each level of maritime industry employment, workers must complete regular training from course providers approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Community and technical colleges offer this training on an affordable basis.
NWTC is one of a handful of technical colleges in the United States that provide maritime and marine shipbuilding training. Currently, area workers in the shipbuilding industry receive specialized training at the NWTC North Coast Marine Manufacturing Center in Marinette, providing service to eight boat and ship building companies. The North Coast region employs more than 6,000 people in the marine manufacturing industry.