In response to area employer demand, Chesapeake College is launching marine technician training designed to prepare students for careers in the marine service industry.
“With abundant waterways and marine industry heritage, the Eastern Shore needs technicians to support both commercial and recreational boating,” said President Cliff Coppersmith. “We’re committed to meeting the needs of area employers, and pleased that we could respond so quickly to provide marine technician training.”
Local employers are already behind the training initiative. With a recent $10,000 donation from Rob Marsh of Wye River Marine in Chester, Chesapeake created a Marine Technician Lab and will offer a Yamaha Outboard Motor Certification class this winter.
“Wye River Marine is very excited about our new education partnership with Chesapeake College and Yamaha Outboard,” Marsh said. “The local marine industry is in desperate need of quality trained technicians. This new program will help provide a crucial first step to the area’s marine dealerships’ employment needs.”
Tom Ellis, Chesapeake’s Director of Skilled Trades, has been meeting with area employers to learn about workforce opportunities and training needs. After Marsh urged Chesapeake to develop a marine technician program, the college conducted a survey of local businesses in the marine industry.
“We had overwhelming response. Employers talked about a critical shortage of trained technicians and said they would absolutely hire students if we developed a program,” Ellis said. “The message was clear and things were lining up. We had an industry need, a market standard curriculum from Yamaha, a generous donor willing to help us get started, and a great instructor ready to teach.”
The next step is enrolling students in the first course. The introductory class, Marine Outboard Engine Systems, begins on Feb. 19. The two- month class provides a basic understanding of outboard motors and maintenance. No prior experience is required for the course. The course ends with a certification exam.
“The Yamaha Introduction to Outboard Service is designed for the entry-level technician. It will teach the basic skills needed to become a marine technician today. After completing this course and taking
the Yamaha ITOS certification test, students will have a Yamaha Outboard Certification to start their career,” said Anthony Depasquale, District Service Manager for Yamaha Motor Corporation.
John McNally, U.S. Coast Guard Machinery Technician 2nd Class, has 16 years of marine experience and will be the course instructor.
Offered on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5- 8 pm on the Wye Mills campus, the class is open to students 16 years and older. The next section will begin on June 4. Registration is now open for both course sections.
The donation from Wye River Marine funded creation of a Marine Technician Lab in the Manufacturing Training Center. The lab, includes four workstations, each with an outboard motor and full complement of tools.
Ellis said future courses could include advanced engine mechanics, electrical systems, diesel engines, marine HVAC and plumbing, and composites for hull repair.
About Chesapeake College
Founded in 1965 as Maryland’s first regional community college, Chesapeake serves five Eastern Shore counties – Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot. With more than 130,000 alumnae, Chesapeake has 2,300 students and almost 10,000 people enrolled in continuing education programs.