Free Training Program Gives Entry-Level Workers Entrée to Careers in Growing Industry
June 9, 2015 — The Marine Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program—a free, seven-week program coordinated by the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) where individuals gain the entry-level skills needed to work in local industry—has been expanded to include the skill sets needed by composites companies in Rhode Island. The Pre-Apprenticeship Program now includes a full week of composites instruction, so trainees will get hands-on experience with the basic processes used by companies that build with these materials.
According to the American Composites Manufacturers Association, the U.S. composites industry generates $70 billion in annual revenue and is projected to grow an average of 6.5% between now and 2020. Rhode Island is known nationally as a seat of composites expertise. Ocean State boat builders were among the early pioneers building with composites, and today Rhode Island is home to a strong cluster of composites companies that work in a wide range of industries—including boat building as well as alternative energy, architecture, defense, medical, robotics, sports & recreation, transportation and underwater submersibles.
“The newly expanded Marine Trades & Composites Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program is a great opportunity for those who like to work with their hands and want to gain the basic skills needed to start careers in the marine or composites industries,” says RIMTA Program Director Jen Cornwell. “Local businesses look to our program as a rich resource for talented, entry-level workers. The last class that graduated in April had a 100-percent job placement rate.”
The program is open to Rhode Island residents who are over 18. Past participants have ranged from recent High School graduates to veterans and mid-career workers looking to train for a new field.
Trainees not only get hands-on instruction in a wide range of skill areas, learning both at area companies as well as educational providers such as IYRS School of Technology & Trades and the New England Institute of Technology; they also get an opportunity to meet business leaders and their employees, and each trainee does a short internship in the skill area that best matches their interests. Oftentimes, these job shadows lead to full-time employment.
The next round of the Pre-Apprenticeship Program starts on July 13 and runs until late August. Thanks to funding from the Rhode Island Governor’s Workforce Board, there is no cost for participants to take this program, and trainees will receive a small weekly stipend. The program requires a full-time commitment and runs Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm.
Space in the program is limited. Interested applicants are encouraged to learn more by visiting www.rimta.org; details on the program, as well as an online application, can be found in the New Worker Training section under the Program tab. The deadline for applications is June 26.