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Boat school in Cedarville awarded grant

CEDARVILLE — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo has announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration is awarding a $2.7 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville, to construct a 10,000-square-foot school expansion, establish new boat-docking infrastructure and purchase additional marine electronics testing equipment.

This project will more than double training capacity for marine service technicians at the school, which has a one-year waiting list, and enhance students’ learning experiences.

This EDA grant will be matched with $686,595 in local funds and is expected to create 270 jobs and generate $5 million in private investment.

“President Biden is committed to ensuring our nation not only recovers from this pandemic but builds back stronger,” Raimondo said in a statement. “This EDA investment will support Michigan’s marine industry, including recreational boating, throughout the Great Lakes State — all while building resiliency in the region’s economy for decades to come.”

The Economic Development Administration supports community-led strategies to accelerate economic recovery from the pandemic, said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo, in a statement.

“This project will help to build a pipeline of skilled marine technicians and boat builders who will be ready to fill in-demand marine jobs throughout Michigan,” Castillo said.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also commented on the project.

“We are grateful to our federal partners for investing in Michiganders and creating opportunities in our beautiful Upper Peninsula,” Whitmer said in a statement.

“This investment will deliver federal resources to empower the boating industry, among others and shore up economic security for families and small businesses in the region for years to come.

“We will continue working at the state level and with our federal partners to grow our economy, create good-paying jobs and deliver on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to families.”

U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both Democrats from Michigan, also issued statements.

“Michigan has a rich maritime history,” Stabenow said. “This funding will boost economic development in the Upper Peninsula and allow the Great Lakes Boat Building School to continue their important work of preparing the next generation of marine industry professionals.”

Peters said, “The Great Lakes Boat Building School continues to bolster Michigan’s maritime workforce by providing first-rate, on-the-job training to prepare students for careers as marine service technicians, carpenters and craftsmen. I was pleased to have helped pass the CARES Act, which continues supporting Michigan’s economic recovery.

“This support will help expand on-site testing equipment and more than double the school’s training capacity, spurring further investment in the community and creating good-paying jobs for Michiganders.”

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus.