Few people would argue that the pool of workers in all aspects of the workboat industry is lower than a California reservoir.

It’s not for a lack of training facilities, from technical and community colleges to in house company training resources. Still, it’s a daily struggle.

The construction industry is suffering from the same malady, so they’re trying something a little different. The North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters (NASRCC) recently announced the launch of “Building Your Future.” It’s an education-focused online portal that provides those interested in pursuing a career in the trades with resources and information on earning a trade-based education in carpentry.

Union officials say the portal is a one-stop shop where everyone from high school students to college students and working adults can learn about how to gain practical knowledge and skills with income and benefits potential through the NASRCC. One specific program, “Shop Fridays”, invites schools to bring students interested in the trades into official NASRCC area training centers for hands-on workshops to learn what’s needed for a career in construction.

“As the demand for a skilled construction workforce is on the rise, students and adults throughout the Northeast can now easily access information on how to begin a career with the carpenters,” said Tom Fischer, executive director of the North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund. “We have a wide variety of programs and courses ranging from career programs with high schools to associate degree partnerships with regional community colleges, and other apprenticeship opportunities for adults. Our union is focused on helping communities meet the demand for skilled workers through this portal.”

In addition to providing a wide range of educational programs to communities, NASRCC is focused on the recruitment of women and veterans into the construction trades and provides specific educational opportunities for these communities through its “Sisters in the Brotherhood” program and its work with the U.S. Department of Labor and state and local officials.

NASRCC offers five types of training:

  • Pre-Apprenticeship:Opportunity for those with no carpentry skills to gain credits/entry into the apprenticeship program. Can include use of NASRCC’s “Career Connections” project plans and full curriculum at participating high schools.
  • Apprenticeship:Four or five-year tuition free program developing comprehensive skills through both shop instruction and paid employment on active construction sites.
  • Skills Enhancement:Free upgrade classes available to journeyman carpenters throughout their career.
  • Specialty Training:Specific training related to a designated area of carpentry or a particular job. Can be tailored and scheduled for specific, individual employer needs.
  • Professional Development:Programs to enhance personal leadership skills and enhance collaborative, efficient working relationships.

Perhaps a similar program would work in the workboat industry.

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.

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