Marine Mechanics program cited for economic development efforts

Officials from Ohio University and the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies will visit the area on May 17 to unveil a report that cites the Skills for Life Marine Trades program as a contributor to the area’s economic development efforts.

The group chose to release the report in May in recognition of Community Action Month across the nation. The report will be released during a presentation that begins at 11 a.m. on May 17 at the Ottawa County Resource Center, 8043 W. Ohio 163, Oak Harbor.


“Ohio University’s research study proved the significant contribution CAAs make to a community’s economic development,” said Philip E. Cole, executive director of OACAA. “WSOS’ Marine Mechanics program is an excellent example of Community Action’s achievements. The program helps people attain stable careers and meets the training needs of the local business community.”

Titled “Community Action Agencies: Strengthening Ohio’s Communities,” the report was conducted by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University. The purpose of the report was to determine the impact that community action agencies have on the economic development of the communities they serve.

Until 2001, Ohio lacked a training program to create a pool of qualified marine mechanics necessary to serve Ohio’s 400,000 registered boats. Partnering with the Ottawa County Improvement Corp., Penta Adult Career Center and area marine businesses, WSOS filled this local labor gap by creating a sector-based Marine Trades Training program that attracts students from across the country.

Data from the study revealed that, to date, the program has trained more than 130 individuals, and of that number, 71 percent have secured employment. Not only does this program serve existing businesses, it has also attracted new ones to the Ohio area.

In 2002, Volvo Penta of the Americas moved its training facility from Chicago to Oak Harbor in order to capitalize on this emerging labor pool.

“We are proud of the success of the Marine Mechanics course and continue to add advanced classes to enhance program graduates’ skills,” said WSOS President/CEO Neil McCabe.

This program provides participants with program instruction and hands-on training in the proper use of all tools used in the marine mechanic industry; diagnosis, repair and replacement of all components of outboard motors, stern drive motors; as well as the maintenance and repair practices of seasonal marine work. Participants also receive a boating safety certification from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and an Ohio boating law certification provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Watercraft Division.  

It designed as an open entry and open exit hands-on program that allows participants to master the skills of the marine trade in less than six months. The participant who completes the requirements of this program can work at any marina around the nation.  

For information on how to enroll in this program, call George Dupey at 419-334-3332.

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