The popular Marine Technology career program at Coastal Alabama Community College is offering opportunities to students at a fevered pace, thanks in part to a partnership with a leading global boating brand, Yamaha Motors.
When it was launched in 2021, the Marine Tech program became one of less than two dozen colleges and universities to partner with the company, which sells more than 300,000 boat motors a year, internationally. That makes up nearly half the market share around the world, which translates to increased opportunities for many of the college’s students.
“This program should be the springboard that launches our students into a really good career,” said Dr. Joshua Duplantis, Dean of Workforce Development.
Marine Tech is a two-semester career program where students earn industry recognized credentials through Yamaha’s Introduction to Outboard Systems certification. Through the program, they learn to apply technical knowledge and skills to repair outboard, inboard, and inboard/outboard engines, as well as how to test, maintain and repair steering devices and electrical systems, repair metal, wood and fiberglass hulls and vessel components.
Matthew Judy came on board as the Foley-based program’s full-time instructor in Spring 2022, when the number of enrollees spiked at 37, up 900 percent from when it was created the previous semester. Dual enrollment is a large part of the Marine Tech program, with high school students accounting for at least 60 percent of enrollees.
The Yamaha Motors Technical School Partnership has two sides, Duplantis said. One is the certification in outboard systems, and the other is that Coastal Alabama Community College is set up like an official Yamaha dealer. “We call it a simulated workplace, students get all the rights and privileges as a dealer giving them access to order parts, and access technical bulletins that provide guidance on how to diagnose and fix an outboard motor.”
The Marine Tech program is a critical part of providing a workforce that is unique to the Alabama Gulf Coast. Students earning this certificate will be prepared to build a career in the fast-growing boating industry.