Boat-building school partners to promote marine careers

What's happening:  A Marine Trades Showcase is being held at the Irish Boat Shop’s new showroom in downtown Harbor Springs on Thursday, April 20. The event is hosted in partnership with the Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville and will welcome students from across the area to come and learn about what it’s like to have a career in the marine industry.

What happens at the event: The Marine Trades Showcase features several interactive stations where participants can try out hands-on learning modules set up by the Irish Team. Speakers from Irish and GLBBS will both give welcome messages, and lunch will be provided by Small Batch at the Cupola in Harbor Springs. 

“It’s one thing to visit a school and tell students about the careers that exist within the industry, but if you really want to get them excited about a career on the water, you need to get them on the water. Let them check out some boats, explore the showroom, interact with the staff, and really develop an idea of what these jobs entail and what sort of skills and traits make for successful employees,” says Nikki Storey, president at Great Lakes Boat Building School.

How did the event come to be: The Irish Boat Shop recently signed on
to the Marine Dealers Education Network (MDEN) to provide financial support to the school and build relationships with the students who, once graduated, will be looking for careers in the marine industry. As an MDEN partner, GLBBS helps to host a Marine Trades Showcase and invites students from the local area to come to the marine dealer and see what a career in the industry really looks like.

What they're saying: “Irish Boat Shop has been a part of the Harbor Springs community since our establishment in 1961,” says Laura Kohler, human resource manager at Irish Boat Shop. “We have a long history in this area and a great reputation within the industry, and it has been difficult to find well-trained and qualified technicians. That’s why we have partnered with the Great Lakes Boat
Building School to support the education that they are providing to our future workforce.“

About the school: The Great Lakes Boat Building School is the only accredited marine training institution in Michigan. The school offers two 12-month certification courses focusing on wooden boat building and restoration and marine technician training. The school is expanding its campus and will offer a new marine electronics certification program beginning in 2025.

What's next: The Irish Boat Shop hopes to host another Marine Showcase event in the near future. The company has also partnered with the school through a Student Sponsorship, through which Irish will fund $15,000 toward a student’s tuition
with the student agreeing to work at Irish following graduation.
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