a person with PPE spraying a boat
Two new programs will connect students to the thriving boat building, manufacturing and repair companies in our area.

BCCC to start boatbuilding programs with Golden LEAF grant

Beaufort County Community College will roll out two new programs in Boat Manufacturing & Repair and Boat Building with the support of a $200,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation. The college is adding the new programs to help create a local employment pipeline for regional companies such as Pamlico Yachts, Caldwell Marine, and Iconic Marine. The programs will be housed at the Beaufort County Skills Center pursuant to a two-year lease with the Beaufort County Committee of 100. Classes will begin during the Fall 2021 semester.

The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded BCCC $200,000 in grant funding to kick-start the two new programs. The funding will be used to purchase major equipment and to hire an instructor. As an additional donation, the Beaufort County Committee of 100 has waived the lease on the Beaufort County Skills Center on Page Rd. for two years.

These programs will provide students with the education and training necessary to enter and succeed in the robust and growing boat-manufacture industry in Eastern North Carolina. Students will have the option to earn a diploma and/or third-party and post-secondary credentials, as well as participate in work-based learning opportunities.

The two programs offer diplomas in Boat Manufacturing & Service and Boat Building. Each program can be completed in three semesters and provide concentrations in Composite Boat Manufacturing, Marine Services and Boat Building. The only other college to offer similar programs is Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, so these additions at BCCC will allow students to study and start working locally.

“The best thing we can offer our students is a program that lets them study locally, keep living at home–potentially even work an existing part-time job–and prepares them for entry or promotion in a thriving boat building industry,” said Dr. Jay Sullivan, VP of Academic Affairs. “This keeps them from having to uproot their family to study elsewhere and connects them to a skilled position locally.”

Each of these areas are in increasing demand among local boat manufactures. The programs will create a structured workforce development pipeline that prepares students for entry into the boat manufacturing sector. New companies relocating to the area often make decisions based on the availability of a skilled workforce. These programs can further solidify the region as a boat manufacturing hub.

“Without this grant from Golden LEAF and the collaboration of the Committee of 100, we could not have started such a capital-intensive program so quickly,” said Dr. David Loope, BCCC President. “Right now, these boat manufacturers are recruiting new employees from across the country, so it was important to us to create an opportunity for local residents to gain the right skills to step into careers with these manufacturers.”

Golden LEAF awarded the grant to BCCC as part of its “Workforce Preparedness and Education” priority. With this priority, the foundation intends to increase the number of qualified individuals with skills aligned with current and future needs of North Carolina businesses and prepare students with the technical and life skills necessary to enter the workforce.

The Golden LEAF Foundation seeks to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation. In 2018, the foundation awarded over $49 million in grants to communities in North Carolina.