The American Boat Builders and Repairers Association's (ABBRA) annual symposium will be held on January 25 at the Ft Lauderdale Convention Centre in Florida.

According to the trade association, securing a proficient and technically skilled workforce is the biggest obstacle to businesses that build, repair, and service boats.

Pamela Lendzion, executive director of ABBRA, comments: “Admittedly we are not the only industry with a demand for skilled workers and jobs that need to be filled. In this competitive labour market, we cannot afford to be complacent and wait for skilled workers to walk through our door.

“We need to be proactive and work together as business owners and industry leaders to develop career awareness strategies to attract workers to our industry and training models to up-skill existing workers and to train entry level workers for a career in the recreational marine industry.”

The ABBRA symposium has been designed to help business owners design a plan and form partnerships that will help them build the skilled workforce needed for the sustainable growth of their business.

The programme includes the following brainstorming and informational sessions:

  • Leading a multigenerational workforce
  • Finding and developing your future workforce
  • On-the-job earn and learn training models
  • How to build a sector partnership
  • Where to obtain funding assistance for technical skills training and up-skilling of your workforce.

Richard Schuhmann, president of the Landing School, will deliver the keynote address. Speakers include Susan Swanton and Rich Difede, both pioneers in workforce development in the recreational marine industry, Michael Corbit from Career Source Palm Beach County, and Scott Ellsworth with Jobs for Americas Future.

Christopher Niles will return with his insights on the Current State of the Economy and Richard Merlino will present a session on the Future of 3D Printing.

The day-long event will be held at the Ft Lauderdale Convention Centre on January 25, leading into the International Marina & Boatyard Conference (IMBC).