U.S. Department of Commerce invests $2.7 mil in Great Lakes Boat Building School

CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to help train marine service technicians in U.P.
US Department of Commerce
US Department of Commerce
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 12:04 PM EDT
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CEDARVILLE, Mich. (WLUC) - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced Tuesday that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.7 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Great Lakes Boat Building School (GLBBS), in Cedarville to construct a 10,000-square-foot school expansion, establish new boat-docking infrastructure and purchase additional marine electronics testing equipment.

According to the GLBBS, the associated economic impact will increase from $1 million to $2 million annually in Mackinac County based on additional students living in the Les Cheneaux Islands area for training. Additionally, the increase in students will be accompanied by growth in staff and in local purchases for supplies and equipment. There will be an additional positive economic ripple effect with the initiation of a multi-million dollar construction project in the Eastern U.P.

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

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, provides a wide range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We want to thank Senators Stabenow and Peters for their support and advocacy of our school and this expansion project,” said Nikki Storey, President of GLBBS. “By expanding our instructional infrastructure and thereby more than doubling our annual graduation capacity, this is a significant step in addressing the distressing workforce shortage in the Great Lakes Marine Industry and beyond.”

This project is expected to double training capacity for marine service technicians at the school, which has a one-year waiting list, and enhance students’ learning experiences. The school is located in a rural region in the Eastern U.P. bordered by both Lake Huron and Lake Superior where tourism is the predominant economic driver. 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.

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