Cultivating Careers: Paid Oyster Farm Training

By ecoRI News staff

WAKEFIELD, R.I. — The Education Exchange has begun recruiting for its new workforce development training program in aquaculture. The program is a five-week, hands-on training aimed at preparing Rhode Islanders with the skills they need to acquire entry-level jobs in the rapidly growing field of aquaculture and hospitality. Participants will get an inside view of the farm-to-table experience. The program is the result of a grant received through the Real Jobs Rhode Island initiative.

The training session will prepare individuals to work in a number of positions in the aquaculture industry, and they will be provided with a stipend. Participants will be instructed in key employment areas such as essential job skills, basic boating skills, boating tools and maintenance, shellfish biology, and dealer and shipper skills.

The Education Exchange is looking to recruit 16 individuals for each of its two training sessions. Held at the Education Exchange twice a year, the first round will begin April 4 and run through May 6, with the second beginning Aug. 1 through Sept, 2. All participants will receive a weekly stipend of $9.60 per hour during the training. Classroom hours will be from 9 a.m.-to 3 p.m., while time served at on-site trainings will vary.

The Education Exchange has partnered with local southern Rhode Island businesses in the aquaculture and hospitality industry to provide employers with a trained and skilled workforce. Through this collaboration, participants will have the chance to work side by side with potential employers during the on-site portion of the training, at such places as the Matunuck Oyster Farm & Bar, East Beach Farm, Behan Family Farms and The Ocean House. Individuals who complete the training will be qualified to work in a number of positions, including but not limited to: oyster farm hand, seafood packaging and delivery, raw bar attendant, catering and restaurant support staff.

Interested individuals must fill out an application. Applications can be found online, and they must be filed by March 18.