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Planning and Economic Development

Program addresses shortage of personnel in boating industry

-Posted on June 29, 2021


Behind every boat and at every marina on Michigan waterways is a marine service technician that keeps our vessels operating correctly. But because of the accelerating growth in the Michigan maritime industry, a technician may not always be readily available. 


To help address the need for qualified personnel, Macomb Community College developed a fast-track comprehensive marine technician program that focuses on developing critical skill sets. In six weeks, it offers individuals entry into a dynamic field that offers year-round work with competitive salaries and benefits while helping the marine industry address its shortage of qualified personnel.


“We have industry representatives knocking on our door everyday asking for graduates,” said Patrick Rouse, director of workforce and continuing education programs in Engineering and Advanced Technology. “For our first two cohorts, we had a 100% graduation rate and a 100% employment rate.”


Graduates of Macomb’s program are prepared for an encompassing range of duties including interacting with boat owners, maintaining working engines, troubleshooting engines, replacing worn or damaged parts, assembling and disassembling engines, as well as keeping records on inspections and repairs. Entry level jobs offer a starting wage of $18 - $22 per hour and including benefits.


Dave Schoebeck, a former tradesman in the manufacturing industry, took the Marine Technician Certificate program in 2020 after his company closed up shop during COVID.​​​​​



“This program came at the best time in my life. I was searching for a way to quickly switch careers and pursue something I loved. I  grew up as a fisherman on the water, and learned how to take care and maintain my own boat, so this seemed like the perfect fit. After filing for unemployment, I reached out to MiWorks and they provided me with career counseling and covered the entire cost of the Marine Technician program. Upon completion of the 8 week certificate, I immediately had two job interviews lined-up, and accepted a position as a service technician at Schneider’s MotorSports located in Fair Haven. Every day I learn something new in this career. I get to work on boats, stare at beautiful lake St. Clair, and meet with customers who share the same passion of fishing and water like I do.”


Macomb Community College’s marine technician program is held in a dedicated space at the college’s Michigan Technical Education Center (M-TEC) in Warren. Students learn in both the classroom and in technical training labs, working on a variety of engines.  Technical components of the program include blueprint reading, electrical wiring, engines/propulsion systems, plumbing, hydraulics, rigging and carpentry. Students also learn customer service skills, and job search skills, including developing a resume and interviewing.


Those who complete Macomb’s marine technician program earn six certifications/ certificates: American Boat and Yacht Council – Marine Service Technician; National Occupation Competency Testing Institute; Occupation Safety and Health Administration – OSHA 10; First Aid; CPR; and Macomb Community College – Certificate of Marine Technician.


The next session begins September 20 and runs through November 5, 2021. Classes meet 6 - 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The cost of the program is $5,000 plus books and supplies. Each student is provided with a laptop, valued at $1,400, to assist them with the digital media literacy portions of the program. 


For more information about the marine technology program at Macomb Community College, call 586.498.4100 or email And to learn more about Macomb County's recreation and tourism industry, visit