Plans to promote ocean-related technology and science jobs in Southeastern Massachusetts and coastal Rhode Island were boosted this week when BankFive announced that it would pledge $75,000 to help advance the region's "Blue Economy" initiative.

UMass Dartmouth and the SouthCoast Development Partnership just wrapped up year one of the three-year project. They took an inventory of the region's marine assets in the areas of science, technology, industry, and education. Now they will create a "blue corridor alliance" geared toward creating synergy, including job training for current and emerging positions. The idea is to position the region to compete globally.

"This is an exciting time for the Southcoast and we are thrilled to partner with UMass Dartmouth to better understand the impact of the burgeoning global blue economy on local fisheries, maritime transport, tourism, energy production, agriculture and other sectors," said BankFive President and CEO William Eccles Jr.

"By convening key marine science and technology stakeholders in industry, academia, and government on the SouthCoast and beyond, we will enable our region to become more globally competitive," said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson. He acknowledged BankFive's "vision and commitment to growing our local economy through innovative partnerships in the blue economy."

The partnership hopes to build upon the region's historical strengths in maritime-related industries and prepare the worksforce for emerging fields including advanced materials manufacturing, oceanography, fisheries technology, renewable energy, and underwater robotics.

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