A workforce shortage in Maine's aquaculture industry has been an obstacle to growth for many businesses and could stunt the industry's tremendous growth potential. To address the workforce shortage, GMRI, The Maine Aquaculture Association, and Educate Maine partnered on The Maine Aquaculture Workforce Development Strategy — a forward-thinking strategic roadmap for Maine to achieve a cohesive and comprehensive workforce training pipeline that meets the needs of today’s industry and anticipates future workforce needs as the industry evolves and rationalizes.
The Strategy recommends a training system that leverages existing vocational-oriented partnership models between Community College, Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Maine Department of Labor Apprenticeship (Apprenticeship). The model caters broadly to the industry’s diverse and evolving needs by providing a foundation of transferable core skills that can be built on through higher-education programs. CC & CTE are well suited to develop aquaculture degree programs that teach the core technical skills drawing from existing programs. Further, low tuition costs make these programs accessible to a wide variety of socioeconomic groups.
Through a generous grant by the US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, GMRI is partnering with Southern Maine Community College, The Maine Aquaculture Association, Maine Department of Labor, and Educate Maine to create fundamental aquaculture workforce training programs including:
- A series of industry-credentialed stackable aquaculture courses that build toward a certificate program and associates degree at Southern Maine Community College.
- Updates to the Maine Aquaculture Occupational Standards developed by the Maine Aquaculture Association.
- A ME Department of Labor certified Aquaculture Apprenticeship program where participants will gain valuable experience, receive mentoring, and get trained and tested on defined occupational competencies.
This project is generously supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
A new website offers Maine's growing aquaculture industry an online knowledge portal that connects resources from many organizations in one convenient hub.
With support from a wide network of collaborators, our Aquaculture team advanced three important projects this year, including a workforce development strategy, an entrepreneur development …