Irish Boat Shop is kicking off the start of spring with an exciting community event designed to promote careers in the marine industry. A Marine Trades Showcase is being held at 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 out of 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.
Like many skilled trades industries, marine employers have been facing a shortage of workers.
“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.“
Great Lakes Boat Building School (GLBBS) 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. They are currently expanding their campus and will offer a new marine electronics certification program beginning in 2025. In support of the training and certification provided by GLBBS, 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.
“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. “At the same time, our school staff has the opportunity to discuss our certification courses and the scholarship and sponsorship opportunities that we offer. It makes this career path enticing and obtainable in less than one year of training. This will encourage students who are looking for alternatives to a traditional college experience.”
The Marine Showcase will feature 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. While registration for the showcase is closed, 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 towards a student’s tuition with the student agreeing to work at Irish following graduation. To learn more about the Irish Boat Shop’s Marine Showcase event visit glbbs.edu/irish-showcase.