Marine Skills Center Ready to Help Students, Industry
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
The first day of school next Wednesday looks to be a bit routine. With the School District hunkered down and trying to survive the continual financial storms, there’s not a lot that’s new — with one huge exception.
The marine skills center at 1606 R Ave. will welcome its first students, offering demanding programs that leaders say foster engaged, relevant learning in areas such as boat operating systems, marine composites and engine mechanics.
Morning and afternoon sessions will accommodate roughly 50 students in all.
The marine trades community here has been involved with the skills center from the start. An industry advisory committee has helped define what students need to go directly into the work force and looked at the type of equipment needed to keep the labs and shop areas current.
That’s going to have to continue, for this is a learning center of a different sort — one that will be changing and evolving as the marine industry does. It seems poised to get off to a great start, but the key will be what’s delivered in the classes.
The skills center is part of the Northwest Career & Technical Academy, which offers eight different programs at two campuses designed to enroll primarily high school juniors and seniors from its consortium districts: Anacortes, Burlington-Edison, Concrete, La Conner, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley. Skagit Valley College, where the other programs are located, has been a key consortium member.
That cooperation has been vital. No single school district could afford the programs the academy offers and make this type of learning available to its students.
The center, which got a $6.6 million construction funding boost from the state Legislature, has been years in the making. There were some shaky moments as sites were debated, but now the striking, state-of-the-art facility is ready to go at an Anacortes location we continue to see as the best choice. The building has a nice marine flavor, expresses technology and fits well with the nearby marine area.
We’re confident the center and its staff will deliver on the goal of becoming a hub for our marine industry.