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Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Expands Partnership with Local Technical College

July 11, 2023

(Photo: NWTC)

(Photo: NWTC)

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. shipyard Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding (FBS) is expanding its partnership with a local technical college in an effort to advance the maritime manufacturing industry and meet growing workforce demand within the region.

In fall 2022, FBS and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) 

designed a specialized training program for FBS employees to advance their welding and ship/pipe-fitting techniques. Since the launch, 97 participants have successfully completed this five-week course offered through the NWTC Sturgeon Bay campus. This course serves as an entry point on a path to becoming a skilled, professional tradesperson with a family-sustaining job. In all, 106 participants completed a total of almost 15,000 hours of training in the past year.

With the success of this pilot training program, the partners have solidified a one-year contract and expanded in areas of higher student capacity, longer course curriculum, and more.

“This partnership is important as we continue to grow, hire and retain the best workforce in the region,” said FBS Vice President and General Manager Jan Allman. “When it comes to upskilling our employees, we believe it is important to have community-based training with experienced, highly-skilled instructors like those at NWTC.”

“The maritime industry supports thousands of jobs in Northeast Wisconsin each year and is a multi-billion-dollar industry statewide,” said Jim Draeger, NWTC dean of corporate training and economic development. “Strengthening our area workforce through customized training is vital to our region’s economic growth. NWTC is thrilled to continue our work with FBS and build an industry-leading workforce.”

FBS, part of the Fincantieri Marine Group, is a 63-acre, custom-built facility designed for new construction, major conversions, repairs, and sustainment of commercial and government vessels. It has years of work underway and planned, such as building additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering barges and a service operation vessel (SOV) to support the offshore wind industry. FBS also assists sister-shipyard Fincantieri Marinette Marine by building large hull sections of Constellation-class frigates for the U.S. Navy. FBS is seeking more candidates for its skilled trades, supporting labor, engineering and management positions.

NWTC is designated a Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education, by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD)—the only designated Center of Excellence on the Great Lakes. The college also operates the North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center, offers maritime safety training and contracts training for Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette.

“NWTC has the flexibility and agility to quickly meet industry needs through customized training with our business partners, as evident by our continued partnership with FBS. Our college is excited for future growth with the FBS training program to mirror our many successes with all industries across the district,” Draeger said.

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