IYRS, a marine trades and technology school based in Rhode Island, has shortened its Marine Systems and Composites Technology programs to a six-month curriculum. The school worked with industry input to intensify both programs and focus on the skills that are in demand in today’s marketplace. The goal of the move is to preserve the high standard of training that makes IYRS graduates valued by industry while giving students a quicker route into the job market.

“One of the biggest financial challenges for our students is not just coming up with tuition—for which there are loans, scholarships, and veteran benefits—but being out of work and not having an income,” said Terry Nathan, president of IYRS. “Adjusting our programs to a six-month timeframe creates great opportunity for more people: students will spend less time out of work and have quicker routes to promising careers.”

The Marine Systems and Composites Technology programs are both based at the school’s Bristol facility. In each program, students are prepared to take national, industry-recognized certification exams that are valuable credentials for job seekers. Marine Systems students sit for certification exams administered by the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) and the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA). Composites students obtain certification from the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) in four areas, which include different processes and wind blade repair.

Both programs were formerly on a nine-month, academic-year calendar but will now offer students the flexibility of two start dates. The first session runs September to February, and the second session runs March to August. Graduates will be entering the job market in spring and fall, which are the busiest seasons in the marine industry. This new schedule begins in September 2012.

Getting on-the-job experience is a core component of all IYRS programs, and internship experience remains a central element in the Marine Systems and Composites Technology programs. These internships often lead to full-time employment. IYRS students enjoy a high job-placement rate; eighty-five percent of the Class of 2011 had jobs in place by graduation time.

Students in the Marine Systems Program learn to install, maintain and troubleshoot the onboard systems used on classic and modern boats. Students in the Composites Technology Program learn both hands-on, practical skills and the theory behind the processes and applications of this fast-evolving technology; composites graduates have a wide choice of career paths since the high strength-to-weight ratio of composite materials pioneered by boat builders is now in demand by many industries—including wind energy, aerospace, and transportation.

Both the Marine Systems and the Composites Technology programs are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Adjusting the programs to a six-month timeframe also reduces the tuition for both programs. Students’ ability to apply for loans, grants and other forms of financial aid remains unchanged.

A prime opportunity to learn more about these programs, meet IYRS staff and tour the school’s Bristol facility is the upcoming IYRS Open House on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 3 from 4 pm to 7 pm. The school is located at 253 Franklin Street, Bristol, Rhode Island.

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