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One of the never ending battles I deal with working within the marine industry is trying to explain to employers, most of whom complain to me on a regular basis about how hard it is to find good help, that they need to be proactive. With that in mind, each year I serve as a judge at the Skills USA nationals in Kansas City, MO in the marine service technology competition. I want to try and do my part to help the future service technicians out there.

The shot below is from this year’s event.
skills 2012
This annual event attracts the best and the brightest high school and post-secondary school talent in the marine service area from all over the US. Each of the contestants is already a winner in that they have competed in their respective state championships. This year we had 31 contestants, a recent high.

I only wish we could get more support from the marine industry here. As it is right now, we had some folks from Volvo Penta (thank you very much Volvo) our competition chairperson, who takes time out of his busy schedule as the OEM installation engineer for Suzuki Motors, the owner of a local Cobalt dealership, the owner of a large engine remanufacturing company, myself (ABYC) and two teachers from marine tech programs in the mid-west.

Although this level of participation may sound pretty good, it pales in comparison to the support other service sector industries receive. Think motorcycle mechanics, as an example. Their group outdoes us by a huge factor every year.

So not to rant, but I’m sort of at the put up or shut up stage here. Any marine industry employers out there? We could sure use some more help and support for next year to keep and grow this important venue. These young people are the future of the marine service industry. We need to prove to them that they haven’t made a mistake in their career choice. So, rather than telling me about how hard it is to find good help for your marine business, what I really want to hear is how you have supported your local marine tech training program or Skills USA chapter.

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