Marine trades program supports good jobs in peninsula, island communities

Finding highly trained, ready skilled workers is a challenge for every industry, from information technology to aerospace. The marine trades are no different, and that sector is an important driver of economic vitality in many rural Washington communities, such as San Juan and Clallam counties.

Commerce recently provided several grants from the strategic economic development account – a fund drawing from unclaimed Lottery dollars – to support customized training programs for marine welders. This high-demand field has left Pacific Northwest boat builders struggling to find candidates to fill good jobs in peninsula and island communities.

In March, Commerce awarded $123,000 to train certified welders through Peninsula College, Port Angeles and Sequim High School. Port Angeles-based Armstrong Marine needs at least 90 certified welders to service a $38-million contract to build state-of-art maintenance barges for the U.S. Navy.

In the first quarter of 2017, a similar program in San Juan County welcomed its first class of tradesmen seeking to “upskill” their training to serve more local maritime businesses. Read more about how our partners at the San Juan County economic development council and Friday Harbor helped bring the idea to reality, and with it, more good family-wage job prospects to their community.

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