Marine Industry & Educators Gather to Seek Solutions to the Labor Shortage Challenge

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The COMITT (Conference on Marine Industry Technical Training) will take place once again February 18 - 20, 2008 at the Gallery One Fort Lauderdale, a Doubletree Guest Suites Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. COMITT 2008 will provide a dynamic forum in support of technical workforce education, training, certification, and professional development.

How do I find trained workers? Once I find them, how can I afford training for them? Is there funding for training? If so, from where and how do I apply for it? What tools and techniques work best for teaching marine skills? What training opportunities are out there? These questions, and many more, will be addressed at the 3rd Conference on Marine Industry Technical Training (COMITT), being held February 18 - 20, 2008 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Employers are well aware that there are significant skill-shortages in the marine industry, and many boat yards, manufacturers, dealers, and other companies now face the same human-resources challenge of attracting and retaining good employees. By attending COMITT, company representatives can effectively maximize the information they receive as attendees and presenters alike address the realities, pressures and challenges of the skilled workforce crunch.

COMITT will focus on addressing solutions for combating the labor shortage challenge. Attendees will hear from and interact with industry peers who have lead the path in securing state grant money for incumbent-worker training. They are anxious and more than willing to share their grant-writing tips with you - industry associates - to avoid the delays and pitfalls that often accompany the search and acquisition of training dollars. In addition, attendees will learn how to utilize state-run career centers, how to manage successful recruitment, retention and training programs, and how to select the best training tools and techniques for their employees.

Offering value far beyond the cost of attending onsite seminars, COMITT also will provide its participants with the opportunity to connect directly from experts and industry professionals, with whom they can consult long after the conference ends.

"We have come a long way since the first COMITT over three years ago," stated Steve Kitchin, MITEC Chair and VP of Corporate Education and Training at New England Institute of Technology. "The industry and schools from around the country have rallied to form the Marine Industry Technical Education Council (MITEC). Marine Trades Associations, manufacturers and dealers have come together in the support of providing effective training and education opportunities; yards, repair facilities and surveyors have dedicated resources to improve and support our effort and government agencies have responded to our calls for providing financial assistance. It is now time to gather together to share all we have learned and to determine what needs do be done to further implement cost efficient quality training and education programs in order to sustain our competitive edge in the global market," Kitchin concluded.

As Baby Boomers retire from the workforce, organizations are losing key people in critical positions. This, and the ever-increasing need for technology-ready employees, has prompted millions of companies to revisit their current work-performance models and to strive for cost-effective, results-oriented solutions. The marine industry is no different.

For two full days, conference attendees will focus on these important issues and work together to find practical solutions. Organizers encourage all levels of industry to participate. Human relations representatives, the technical work force and all levels of engineering, production and management are needed to help build cooperative bridges that will connect worker needs and required skills with affordable training opportunities.

A full conference brochure is now available online at http://www.comitt.org/. Save money by registering early. Room block rate ends January 18, 2008. Early-bird registration ends February 1, 2008 .

Produced by MITEC and co-sponsored by the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Professional Boatbuilder magazine (PBB), the conference will examine key workforce-development and technical-training issues in the marine industry.

Thanks to the support of Elluminate Inc., selected COMITT presentations will be presented simultaneously as free online events. Registration for these programs is available at http://comitt2008.eventbrite.com.

COMITT 2008 will provide a forum to discuss, present and demonstrate industry support of technical workforce education, training, certification and professional development. COMITT's purpose is to become the internationally recognized leading summit to highlight the marine industry's commitment to developing and maintaining a highly-skilled and technically proficient workforce.

For additional information on COMITT, visit http://www.comitt.org.

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CAROLINE CHETELAT
ABYC
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