Michigan boat-building school becomes accredited

A student works on a hand-crafted boat at the Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville. (Photo courtesy of GLBBS)

I built my own first boat. Actually it was a raft. It wasn’t a pallet, but it resembled one and was just about as seaworthy.

Since then, I’ve toyed with the idea of building a wooden boat a bit more substantial. At one time there were kits and plans available in many outdoor magazines, all of which fueled my imagination, not the least of which was my assumption that, if I could get out to the middle of the pond, I’d catch larger fish.

Other than the wooden raft I pulled to the town pond on my little red wagon, I never acted on my idea of a DIY boat, but I have built a number of floating duck blinds. That’s another story.

Several years ago I spent a few hours at the GLBBS (Great Lakes Boat Building School) in Cedarville. The school offers lessons to a wide variety of students. Some were in training as a career choice. They were hoping to find employment at any number of wooden boat manufacturers or restoration businesses around the country. There’s more of those than you imagine.

Some of the students were like me when I was young – they wanted to build their own boat. But unlike me, they were acting on the idea. The students could be of any age, from high schoolers during the summer months to retired folks pursuing, perhaps, a lifelong ambition.

There were works in progress when I visited, from tiny, one-man dinghies to seriously-sized motorized vessels. The students were an industrious group, all of them there because they wanted to attend.

But other than the GLBBS’s reputation (which has always been good), students and graduates of the school had nothing solid to put on their resume once their schooling was over. The school was not accredited.

Now it is, having been certified by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools. Accreditation is not an easy process, but the school’s leaders took the challenge and, henceforth, their students will be better off for it.

The school had been losing potential students to other accredited schools. The school has missed out on educational grant opportunities to fund special projects and scholarship opportunities and now, potential students may apply for educational assistance programs to help them defray the cost of their attendance.

For more information, go to www.glbbs.org.

Categories: Michigan – Mike Schoonveld

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