Congress is preparing to vote as early as this week on a budget deal which includes $20 million for the 2019 Small Shipyard Grant Program. Passage this week means the Maritime Administration would post a grant notice by early March and grant applications would be due mid-April. While it's never over till it's over, Congress appears poised to pass the law and the President appears willing to sign it, rather than force another government shutdown.

Since 2008, the Small Shipyard Grant Program has awarded over $183 million to more than 180 small shipyards. These grants help fund upgrades and expansions, allowing small yards to compete more effectively in a rapidly changing global marketplace. By providing the capital that will let shipyards increase their repair and production footprints these grants are helping to create more jobs throughout the U.S.

Last year Marad awarded more than $20 million in grants to support capital improvements at 29 U.S. small shipyards, supporting capital improvements that foster increased efficiency and economic growth.

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.