Small Shipyard Grants pay outsized dividends in jobs, economic strength
Thanks to a recent report, we know that even though most U.S. shipyards are located in coastal areas, the economic ripple effect of America’s shipyards reach all 50 states. In fact, the study indicates that, in 2011, the shipbuilding industry supported 402,010 jobs, $23.9 billion of labor income and $36 billion in GDP.
That’s why this Administration has invested more than $150 million to boost U.S. shipyards, their workers, and the thousands of businesses that supply them. And it means that the $9.46 million in grants announced today by the Maritime Administration (MARAD) will pay dividends far beyond the 12 shipyards receiving them.
Today’s awards, from MARAD’s Small Shipyard Grant program, will support production upgrades that improve vessel quality as well as shipyard efficiency. Shipyards will reap the benefits of increased capacity and competitiveness delivered by emerging technologies and employees trained in new skills.
For example, one of today’s grant recipients, barge producer Jeffboat, LLC, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, will change the width and orientation of one of its four vessel production lines. That will increase the line’s efficiency and capacity, allowing Jeffboat to compete more effectively in the global economy and create 100 new jobs.
MARAD’s small shipyard grants do more than just improve shipyard bottom lines; they also create jobs and new opportunities, and they strengthen local economies.
One past recipient, Eastern Shipyard of Panama City, FL, used a MARAD grant to expand operations and create more than 300 new jobs. And, thanks to a MARAD grant for training and equipment, Philadelphia’s Aker Shipyard has more than tripled its workforce since April 2011.
The economic benefits of the Small Shipyard Grant program also extend beyond shipyards to their suppliers. Marine Travelift, Inc. (MTI), of Sturgeon Bay, WI, for example has provided boat hoists and other marine services to more than 11 shipyards nationwide that have received Maritime Administration funding. According to MTI, this has translated into nearly $15 million in revenue, allowing the company to create more jobs in the Sturgeon Bay region.
When we work to strengthen America’s maritime industry, we continue our progress toward the Presidents goal of strengthening America’s middle class.