Arkansas State University-Beebe and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. have signed a partnership agreement to establish a training program for outboard marine motor technicians at ASU-Beebe’s Searcy campus.
A signing ceremony took place Wednesday (July 17) at Sunrise Marine Center in Searcy, the local Yamaha dealership which helped bring about the discussion between Yamaha and ASU-Beebe.
“This partnership and enhanced training program represents a generous commitment by Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. in the form of advisement, endorsement, training aids, instructional equipment, and materials,” Dr. Jennifer Methvin, chancellor of ASU-Beebe said. “It is a model industry investment in higher education expertise and resources to ensure they can support high tech training at our institutions.”
The Yamaha-specific outboard training will be incorporated into ASU-Beebe’s current power sports program where students learn to repair and maintain a variety of outdoor sports vehicles and engines. This two-year program will be the first of its kind in the state open to both high school and college level students. High school students from area schools can participate in this and other technical training programs through the Regional Career Center at the ASU-Beebe Searcy campus.
Steve Maciosek, regional service manager for Yamaha U.S.A. said, “We [Yamaha] are looking forward to growing technicians for the local area and across the state. We need the younger generation to develop into marine technicians across the nation.”
He added that the problem faced by the marine industry today is that the average age of master technicians industry-wide is 52 years old. And, approximately 20% of those are lost each year.
Yamaha’s Trade & Technical School Partnership program has been developing over the last three years. ASU-Beebe is the 111th educational partnership, and Maciosek says that Yamaha Corporation is hoping to achieve 200 school partnerships by the end of 2019.
The outboard engines training program represents a substantial investment by Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. in that the company will provide the instructional materials, technical manuals, equipment training sets, outboard engines, test equipment and access to Yamaha Motors Business parts ordering system for parts and supplies to facilitate the training.
“Our goal through these partnership training programs is to train technicians to fill the need for skilled marine service technicians nationwide, and create a career track to supply the industry with skilled technicians well into the future,” Maciosek said.
Ron Snyder, instructor of power sports at ASU-Beebe said, “The impressive part of this program is that it is not simply a training program for our kids, this is a career path. Graduates of this program can make a career out of this anywhere they want to live in the nation. And earn good money doing it.”
Fall classes are set to start Aug.19th at ASU-Beebe.
“This, and our other industry partnerships, demonstrate ASU-Beebe’s commitment to bringing opportunities and improving the skilled workforce in our community,” Methvin added.