On Monday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration announced the availability of $19.6 million in federal funding to support capital improvements and employee training at small U.S. shipyards.

The grants are provided through the Small Shipyard Grant Program, and help eligible shipyards modernize operations, increase efficiency and reap the benefits of increased productivity.

“Our country’s infrastructure relies on the success of our shipyards, ports, and waterways. This grant program helps provide workers with the training they need to succeed in the 21st century economy,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

U.S. shipyards continue to create new jobs and strengthen the economy. In 2013, U.S. shipbuilders directly employed 110,000 U.S. workers and produced $37.3 billion in gross domestic product (GDP), according to the DOT.

The grants, available to U.S. shipyards with less than 1,200 production employees, support a variety of projects. This includes capital and related improvements as well as equipment upgrades that foster ship construction, repair and reconfiguration. The grants can also be used to cultivate maritime training programs intended to enhance employee skills and productivity.

“These grants will help small shipyards continue to build top-of-the-line vessels in addition to creating jobs and supporting economic growth in their local communities,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby.

Applications for the grants are due by May 22, and Marad intends to award grants no later than July 23.  Additional information can be found at https://www.marad.dot.gov/ships-and-shipping/small-shipyard-grants/or by contacting David M. Heller, director, Office of Shipyards and Marine Engineering, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave., S.E., Washington, DC 20590; [email protected].

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.