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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Bipartisan Legislation Supporting Maritime Industry Becomes Law

Bipartisan Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act addresses the critical need for trained workers in the maritime industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. This bipartisan legislation helps address the critical need for trained workers in the maritime industry.

“It is an honor to represent a state with a long and proud maritime manufacturing tradition,” said Senator Baldwin. “I am proud to see this bipartisan legislation signed into law, in order to help ensure the future of our maritime workforce.”

The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act authorizes the Maritime Administration (MARAD) to designate community and technical colleges with maritime training program as centers of excellence and allow the Administration to provide technical assistance and other support to these institutions as they train the domestic maritime workforce.

“The legislation reinforces how important the marine manufacturing talent and skills of the Great Lakes Region are to the nation,” said Ann Franz, director of the North Coast Marine Manufacturing Alliance (NCMMA).  “At the heart of the marine industry, there is a highly skilled workforce with an unwavering passion. We see this as an opportunity to showcase world class marine manufacturing in northeast Wisconsin and grow the shipbuilding and maritime careers in our area.”

“Passage of the Maritime Centers of Excellence legislation empowers Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to remain in the forefront of maritime and marine education and training,” said NWTC President Dr. Jeff Rafn. “The College will collaborate with other Centers of Excellence throughout the country to prepare workers for the maritime and marine manufacturing industry. Northeast Wisconsin is a premier shipbuilding center on the Great Lakes. Designating a Maritime Center of Excellence at NWTC will improve the opportunities for the Great Lakes marine manufacturing industry to innovate and grow. We are thankful for the support of our congressional delegation, who clearly understand the critical role technical and community colleges including NWTC play in sustaining and growing the maritime and marine workforce.”

The bipartisan legislation is supported by the North Coast Marine Manufacturing Alliance and the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) and was cosponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).