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Bill Would Give Grants To Help Find, Train Workers For Ship-Building Industry

Act Would Spend $12M A Year For 3 Years


A bill to get millions of dollars for job training in the maritime industry has been introduced in Congress and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., is among a bipartisan group of lawmakers that says the ship-building industry is running short of qualified job applicants.

The bill, called Maritime and Energy Workforce Technical Training Enhancement Act, would spend $12 million a year for three years. It contains grants for technical schools or public colleges that are near shipbuilding centers along the oceans, Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes.

Schools in northeastern Wisconsin could compete for million dollar grants to pay instructors, expand buildings or provide free or reduced tuition.

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Ann Franz, who directs the area’s North Coast Marine Manufacturing Alliance, said the workforce is aging and young people looking for work can run into hurdles.

“Unfortunately because the skill set needed to get jobs are higher than they ever have been. They really do need post-secondary education and sometimes people can’t afford that,” she said.

Franz said a strong ship industry is important to the economy and national security.