Originally published in
Castine PatriotJanuary 27, 2022 and Island Ad BenefitsJanuary 27, 2022 and The weekly planJanuary 27, 2022
Reward of USDA fund the Aquaculture Workforce Training Program
we Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that the Gulf of Maine Research Institute received $500,000 from the we National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the Department of Agriculture. The grant will be used to establish a comprehensive Maine aquaculture workforce training program that will help students pursue careers in the growing field, according to a news release.
GMRI is a Maine-based non-profit organization that studies the marine ecology of the Gulf of Maine and investigates the many challenges of ocean management and economic growth in the region.
GMRI will work with the Maine Department of Labor and several community colleges to create aquaculture learning opportunities and new aquaculture courses that will allow participants to gain real-world experience in the field while pursuing a college education.
According to the press release, GMRI develop and pilot a Maine Department of Labor aquaculture apprenticeship program where participants will gain valuable experience, be trained and tested on defined job skills, receive mentorship, and learn how to use advanced technology on commercial farms in Maine’s most sophisticated shellfish and sea vegetables.
This work will be done in conjunction with a series of accredited short courses in aquaculture at Southern Maine Community College that will form the basis of an aquaculture certificate. Classes will be coordinated between SMCCWashington County Community College, the Mid-Coast School of Technology and Maine DOL apprenticeship to establish dual credit programs that provide rapid graduation.
Collins and King have long been proponents of ocean-based technology development in the region and support GMRI‘s work, according to the release. They previously announced a grant of nearly $750,000 to GMRI in April 2021 for the Gulf of Maine Blue Economy Initiative, a program designed to boost the competitiveness of the region’s seafood industry, create well-paying jobs and accelerate economic growth.