International Yacht Restoration School wins federal funds

IYRS' new Composites Technology Program receives $500,000 to provide composite materials and processing training.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) was joined on March 15 by the staffs of the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS, Bristol, R.I.) and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. to announce federal funding for IYRS' new Composites Technology Program. Senator Reed, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured $500,000 USD in the fiscal year 2010 appropriations spending bill to help establish this program, which will train skilled technicians and innovators for industries that are central to the state's economic development. Senator Reed was joined by a crowd of marine industry leaders and state and local dignitaries. The announcement took place at the IYRS Bristol campus, where the composites program will begin this September. 

"The boating industry employs thousands of Rhode Islanders, and we have an opportunity to help businesses grow and create more jobs right here in the state. This federal funding will help train more marine workers and give them hands-on experience, not just in building boats, but in working with new, green technology. Investing in this program will help us build a more competitive workforce and fuel future economic growth," said Senator Reed.

Senator Reed's announcement was followed by remarks by RIEDC executive director Keith Stokes and IYRS president Terry Nathan. The IYRS Composites Technology Program — the first of its kind in the rapidly growing composites field — is targeted to meet the needs of the marine industry, but graduates will have a choice of career paths because the high strength-to-weight ratio of composite materials pioneered by boatbuilders is now in demand by many industries.

"Workforce development is a key component to re-energizing Rhode Island's economy," said Keith Stokes, executive director of the RIEDC. "IYRS' composites program will provide students with the necessary skill sets needed to succeed in the diversified industries we have in the Ocean State, including marine trades, manufacturing and wind energy."

The IYRS program is a nine-month, full-time course that will give students a foundation in composites processes, techniques, and technology, ranging from general composites that employ glass fiber and polyester resin, to advanced composites that employ high-strength/high-modulus fibers and advanced resin systems. The program places a stronger emphasis on advanced composites, which are generally greener because they produce less emissions in the manufacturing process.

For more information about IYRS and its Composites Technology Program, visit www.iyrs.org.