From the Captain's Chair: Workforce Development Progress
June and July have remained productive months at MIASF, despite the traditional summer slowdown. MIASF staff, committee members, and industry leaders have been focused on a variety of workforce development issues, from placing summer interns in local businesses, to attending national conferences like the National Marine Trades Council and the American School Counselor Association. Additionally, great progress is being made on securing the State’s first “Yacht Service Technician Apprenticeship Program” with Atlantic Technical College and the Florida Department of Education.
Earlier this year, Florida’s governor made a commitment to invest substantially in workforce and technical training programs that will help the State move from ranking 24th in the nation to being number one by expanding workforce education opportunities. For several years, MIASF has led the charge toward the creation of an apprenticeship program that will help to ensure the marine industry benefits from a skilled and talented workforce that will sustain it into the future.
During the legislative session that concluded in May, MIASF successfully advocated for the inclusion of a $750,000 appropriation in the State budget that would require the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to study impacts to the marine industry from additional passenger rail across the FEC train bridge that spans the New River.
MIASF is committed to ensuring the continued and ongoing navigability of the New River to safeguard a $12 billion industry while understanding the need for transportation solutions in a region that is the sixth largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the country. Once the FDOT study is underway we will keep everyone posted on the opportunities to participate as stakeholders in the various elements of the process and the procedures for offering input.
I encourage everyone to take some time this summer to enjoy all the natural beauty Florida’s waterways have to offer the boating community. We are fortunate to have the world’s third largest barrier reef off our shores, as well as the wetlands and wildlife of Florida Everglades National Park, and countless picturesque lakes and rivers throughout the State. Try to take advantage of these incredible natural resources if you can.