Austin Kalina, a marine technician apprentice at Indian Lake Marina, in Central City, Pa., has been selected as the first recipient of the Marine Apprentice Technician Scholarship, announced the MRAA Educational Foundation. The scholarship was presented at the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo on Sunday evening, Dec. 9, during the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas Opening Night Awards Celebration at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Fla.
Before bringing Kalina on board as an apprentice technician, the dealership had searched for an experienced marine technician for several months with no luck, according to General Manager Brandon Mick. Kalina’s application demonstrated limited boat repair experience and zero formal marine technician training, but his passion for learning shone through clearly. Since he has joined the team, his appetite for knowledge and team-oriented approach to his work has made him a “great fit,” according to Mick, who nominated him.
In his application, Kalina wrote: “The ability to go and receive more in-depth training would allow me to reach my goal of becoming a marine technician sooner. I hope to one day be able to be certified and maybe expand our shop at the marina. I am always looking for ways to improve my skills and knowledge any way that I can.”
The Marine Apprentice Technician Scholarship was created to offer financial assistance to dealership apprentice technician personnel while attending engine manufacturer training as they work their way to becoming certified. Each year, the recipient of the scholarship will receive $1,000 to cover travel expenses related to said training.
“Apprenticeship is one of dealers’ most powerful solutions to the technician shortage,” says Jeff Siems of Blue Springs Marine, who serves as president of the MRAA Educational Foundation Board of Directors. “We are thrilled to support dealerships like Indian Lake Marina and individuals like Austin through this scholarship, as we know the end result will be a stronger workforce to carry our industry into the future.”