When the Marine Industry Association of South Florida (MIASF) contacted Broward Community College (BCC) to help them with the training of qualified technicians, we were more than willing to assist an industry that represents the largest economic generator in our community. With an estimated $18 billion impact on our Florida economy, the marine industry is the eight hundred pound gorilla that cannot be ignored.
However, the industry is fragmented and a dominant employer is hard to find; MIASF represents over 800 members and few employ more than 50 workers. In addition, the industry has struggled to standardize much of its practices or establish a training criteria or certification for its workers. That’s where the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) comes into the picture. BCC has joined with ABYC to establish a Marine Center of Excellence in Miramar Florida to establish a curriculum that will lead to a certification. Employers will recognize graduates as having completed a quality program and are prepared to work on the sophisticated systems and engines aboard multi-million dollar yachts.
The owners of these vessels choose South Florida to get their yachts repaired or retrofitted because of the availability of parts, equipment and labor. However, the labor force is decreasing due to the lack of young people entering the industry and an aging existing workforce. Soon, this issue will cause the industry to suffer and boat owners will go elsewhere to get the services. The industry, as a whole, must come together with a unified voice and call for and support a training program that will lay the foundation for a successful and fruitful future. This will ensure that the labor force will be available to take on the growth that the industry is experiencing and meet the demand of South Florida.
Dean, Aviation Institute, Automotive Technology
and Marine Engineering Management Programs