Great Lakes Boat Building School

Great Lakes Boat Building School Garners Bank’s Support

PRESS RELEASE – December 2022

FNB-SI Support Banked – Jim North, Chief Executive Officer of First National Bank – St. Ignace, (right) makes a presentation to Great Lakes Boat Building School Board Chairman Joe Reid (left) and President Nikki Storey in the amount of $10,000 at the bank’s Cedarville branch. The Eastern U.P. based community bank supported the school’s campaign to double its instructional footprint.

Great Lakes Boat Building School Garners Bank’s Support

Cedarville, MI – The Board of Directors of First National Bank of St. Ignace recently approved a donation of $10,000 in support of the Great Lakes Boat Building School (GLBBS) “Come Aboard, Launch Careers” capital campaign to expand the instructional infrastructure at the Cedarville-based marine trades institution.

The school embarked on a capital campaign in December 2021 to secure $1.1 million to fund associated fixtures, equipment and the required 20% match for the $2.7 million U.S. EDA grant that was formally approved earlier this year. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held on October 1st with construction planned to commence for the 10,000 square foot marine trades training facility in the second quarter of 2023.

This expansion of the GLBBS instructional infrastructure is in direct response to the needs of the marine industry. The structure will facilitate instruction with hands-on skills training in marine service and marine electronics technologies. The new Marine Electronic Technology program will be the first of its kind in the nation.

The project also includes new docking and waterfront improvements along with interior student life improvements like a student commons area. The project aligns positively with the institution’s strategic plan to double student enrollment.

“We are so humbled that so many donors including First National Bank of St. Ignace share our vision for the growth of the school and the positive impact more students will have on the Les Cheneaux Islands community,” said Nikki Storey, GLBBS President. “The bank is an outstanding corporate partner that understands the importance of reinvesting in the communities it serves.”

The Comprehensive Career Boat Building Program has been offered since the school’s establishment in 2006 when local residents had the vision to foster the steeped wooden boat building and restoration heritage of the area with a school. In 2019, based on a recommendation by its Program Advisory Board GLBBS introduced its Marine Service Technology Program including an exclusive partnership with Mercury Marine. Both programs have recently generated a 100% placement rate of its graduates.

“Our board and leadership have been impressed with the school’s growth and vision over the years,” said Jim North, Chief Executive Officer, First National Bank of St. Ignace. “To have a local economic driver like GLBBS just down the street from our Cedarville branch made it a priority for us to support this campaign.”

The First National Bank of St. Ignace’s main banking office is located on North State Street in the Eastern U.P. community existing in the same block for over 130 years. The bank operates six branch offices in the eastern Upper Peninsula including Mackinac Island, Cedarville, Naubinway, Newberry and two full-service branches in the St. Ignace area.

GLBBS produces qualified students from their Comprehensive Career Boat Building Program (CCBB) and the Marine Service Technology Program (MST), in partnership with Mercury Marine University, with a consistent 100% placement rate. The School addresses the shortage of skilled trades and craftspeople in the marine industry following graduation. For prospective student enrollment information go to or call 906.484.1081.

Information about the “Come Aboard…Launch Careers” capital campaign or the “Fill in the Planks” program is available by contacting Tom Coates, Director of Development at or also by calling 906.484.1081.

Great Lakes Boat Building School is a non-profit organization recognized as a charitable organization and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.