How has your program adopted to the changing marketplace?

Boat builders today are making more than just boats. They’re transferring their technology into wind blade or automotive parts. For example, I know someone in Bristol, R.I., whose company is making musical instruments with composites, and a few years ago he was building boats! Our programs work closely with the industries we support to ensure we’re meeting marketplace needs. IYRS is always on the lookout for the opportunity to build new programs, and the programs we teach translate across different industries. A composite technician from our composites program could easily work in wind repair, and an electrical student from our Marine Systems program could apply his knowledge with diesel engines and do repairs on CAT engines in a truck.

IYRS is partnering with CCT to hold a three-day seminar to prepare people for the CCT exam – why did IYRS want to get involved in this?

Bob Lacovara and I wanted to provide the opportunity for technicians in the New England area to receive hands-on training with CCT certification. Bob always felt that teaching hands-on classes was the next phase for the program; it was something he always wanted to do. But it’s difficult to make something like that happen. You need to have the right facility and materials to safely provide training to a large group of people, which is exactly what IYRS will provide for the course.

The seminar is basically expanding on the information provided by the CCT training program and adding an experiential platform for students to see the whole process. Our hope is to make this seminar an annual event at IYRS for composite technicians, and interested technicians, to experience composite manufacturing.

What’s the value of the CCT program?

CCT curriculum already offers valuable information for technicians, and I believe the value of the program will only increase over time. We based our curriculum for the Marine Systems program on certification from the American Boating and Yacht Council, which is now a recognized program in the marine industry. The more it became accepted, the more significant it was that our program was using those standards. It takes time for any certification to gain traction in the industry. Once manufacturers start investing in CCT certifications for employees, the program becomes significant for the industry. That’s what we need to look for: the broader the program becomes, the more it is used by industry, and the more significance it has for the individual technicians.