Even before the pandemic, the general lack of interest in the technical trades—and the lack of exposure to them at the high school level—has been an ongoing challenge for the marine industry. The post-pandemic labor shortage hasn’t helped, which one reason Mercury Marine is partnering with high schools in Florida, New York and Virginia to the “to help prepare the next generation of marine service technicians and address the industry’s workforce shortage,” according to a press release from the Fond du Lac, Wis., marine propulsion and accessories company.
With an eye toward the near-future, Mercury Marine is helping launch the next generation of marine technicians. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
To that end, Mercury Marine has provided its Mercury University curriculum along with 90 hp FourStroke outboard engines and tools to those schools.
“Mercury Marine is proud to partner with these high schools to train students for careers in the marine industry,” said Jeff deDoming, Mercury Marine’s dealer workforce recruiting and development manager, in the release. “We want to introduce students of all backgrounds to the limitless possibilities in the industry and help meet the continued demand for service technicians.”
As part of Mercury’s Marine Systems Technician curriculum, students learn to diagnose malfunctions, prepare repair estimates and work orders, and repair or replace parts as specified by manufacturers, according to the release. Each school also received a $50,000 engine and tool package containing the latest Mercury SmartCraft® technology along with the diagnostic tools needed to teach proper diagnostics and repair procedures.
The partnership includes the following schools:
• Pasco County Schools/Fred K. Marchman Technical College in New Port Richey, Fla.
• Richard O. Jacobson Technical High School in Seminole, Fla.
• Boards of Cooperative Educational Services of New York State
• Northern Neck Technical Center in Warsaw, Va.
Mercury will also offer a scholarship for high school students wishing to continue their education in marine technology at post-secondary education schools.
“We are extremely grateful for our partnership with Mercury Marine and the support they have shown our students and our school,” said Josh Wolfenden, principal of Richard O. Jacobson Technical High School, said in the release. “Mercury has provided tools, equipment and materials that have truly made a difference in the educational experience of our students. They are much better prepared to earn their industry certifications and take on upcoming career opportunities thanks to the support that Mercury has provided.”