Recently, Governor Maura Healey signed the 2024 state budget, which included $150,000 in funding for workforce development and career technical education initiatives within the recreational boating industry. This funding will continue the successful initiatives and progress that the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association (MMTA) has made over the last five-plus years to help meet the workforce challenges within the industry.
The funds were introduced via Budget Amendments sponsored in the House by Representative William Straus of the 10th Bristol District and in the Senate by Senator Patrick O’Connor of the Plymouth & Norfolk District, joined in leadership by Representative Susan Gifford and Senator Paul Feeney, the four Co-Chairs of the 60-plus member Legislative Boating Caucus.
“The MMTA would like to express our appreciation to Representatives Straus and Gifford and Senators O’Connor and Feeney for their leadership on this budgetary funding. We would also like to thank the entire 60+ person boating caucus for their continued support of the recreational boating industry in Massachusetts,” the association said in a news release. “As well, we would also like to thank the six members of the 2024 budget Conference Committee: Chairman Aaron Michlewitz, Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Representative Todd Smola, Chaiman Michael Rodrigues, Senator Cindy Friedman, and Senator Patrick O’Connor. Last but certainly not least, thank you to Governor Healey for signing the final budget for the state and supporting workforce solutions within our industry.”
Below are examples of how MMTA will utilize the workforce funding:
- Support existing and new educational programs at various schools throughout the state; *Examples include Salem High School, New Bedford Tech, New Bedford High School, Cape Cod Regional Tech, Upper Cape Cod Tech, Whittier Tech, Worcester Tech, Bunker Hill Community College, Cape Cod Community College and more.
- Provide financial assistance for employee training.
- Provide financial assistance for Tools of the Trade Funding. This program provides $300 gift cards to Snap-On Tools for new or existing employees to help build their tool boxes to help in their current positions within the industry here in Massachusetts.
- Continue marketing outreach and development to connect current and future workers with available jobs, such as through www.massboatingcareers.com and MMTA’s workforce videos.
The recreational boating industry in Massachusetts has an economic impact of approximately $5 billion dollars and employs approximately 20,000 men and women in the state. The industry is currently facing a substantial workforce shortage both in Massachusetts and on a national level. In Massachusetts, there are hundreds—if not thousands—of jobs currently available. The organization said this amendment will go a long way in continuing to help its efforts on workforce solutions here in Massachusetts.