The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation, has set a goal of raising US $25,000 in 2015 to provide financial support for education, training and professional development in the recreational marine trades in the US.
The funds raised will be directed toward scholarships and awards to train men and women studying to become marine technicians, service employees working to expand their skills, dealership managers and owners seeking to improve and grow their businesses, and industry leaders striving to create a stronger marine industry.
In addition, the foundation is exploring ways it can help the boating business attract high school students and veterans to marine industry careers.
"Finding qualified employees to support their growth has been a big challenge for many marine dealers,' says Liz Walz, executive director for the foundation. "The foundation is currently working to address this challenge by providing financial support to students who are training for careers in the boating business and dealership employees interested in furthering their education, but we also see an opportunity to educate the public about the benefits of working in the recreational marine industry.'
During the 2015 Marine Dealer Conference and Expo, taking place November 15 to 18 in Orlando, Florida, the foundation will hand out seven scholarships and awards that together represent US $27,325 in technical training and professional development. They include the following programs:
• Two MRAA Technical Scholarships, which are awarded to marine schools that train students for careers in the marine industry.
• Two ABYC Scholarships, which cover the tuition for one recipient to attend ABYC's Introduction to Basic Marine Electric and Corrosion Protection and another recipient to attend one of ABYC's Certification Courses.
• The Duane Spader Leadership Development Scholarship, which covers the tuition for one recipient to attend Spader Business Management's Leadership Development Program.
• The Kevin Lodder Scholarship, which covers the tuition and provides a travel stipend for each recipient to attend Spader Business Management's Total Management Workshop.
• The Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year Award, which is presented to an outstanding woman who is actively involved in the marine industry.