Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Workforce Development

In the 1967 movie The Graduate, a young Dustin Hoffman is told by one of the characters that plastics are the industry of the future. Today’s graduates, faced with the prospect of competing for a dozen jobs with a hundred of their peers, should consider the maritime industry. The Pacific Northwest maritime community offers quite a few programs to entice young people into maritime fields.

Seattle’s Friends of Maritime recently held a successful 15th-annual Maritime Career Day on May 7th at Bell Harbor Pier during the Seattle Maritime Festival week. The day was dedicated to introducing students to career opportunities and offering companies with entry-level jobs the opportunity to connect with post-high school job seekers.

As many as 700 students and job seekers interacted with industry representatives from a wide spectrum of maritime fields including commercial fishing, passenger vessel operations, tug and barge services, steamship lines, diving and salvage and shipyards.

The success of the annual Seattle event has led to a similar event to be offered in Tacoma, Washington the last week of September this fall.

The Youth Maritime Training Association (YMTA), led by Gary Stauffer, has a presence at as many high school career fairs as possible, representing a wide number marine careers. The YMTA staff is on hand to answer questions and the YMTA booth offers flyers and pamphlets from many training institutions, including community colleges, 4-year colleges, private training programs and maritime academies. Stauffer has also been involved with the Seattle King County workforce development council to develop a Maritime Career Pathway website: www.mapyourcareer.org/maritime/maritime-careers.html. YMTA also sponsors ten high school programs that offer marine experiences to students.

In addition to helping maritime students chart the right course, there are financial programs to help them realize their goals. Last month six Washington State high school seniors were awarded 2013 YMTA and Pacific Maritime Magazine Scholarships in the ninth annual Norm Manly Youth Maritime Training Association (YMTA) Maritime Educational Scholarship competition.

Since 1987 Pacific Maritime Magazine has sponsored the Pacific Maritime Magazine scholarship to young men and women hoping to pursue a career in the maritime industry, and the recipient of the 2013 Pacific Maritime Magazine scholarship is Stefan Sorenson, a Lake Stevens High School student who will enter California Maritime Academy this fall. New this year, Pacific Maritime Magazine will host a summer intern, Emily Keyes, a cadet at the California Maritime Academy majoring in Global Studies and Maritime Affairs.

The future economic vitality of our industry lies with an educated and engaged workforce. Programs like the Maritime Career Day, the YMTA and the Pacific Maritime Magazine scholarship are vital to ensure that young people with the passion to enter the maritime industry have the resources to live that passion.

Other Shores

When I introduce myself to mariners on the West Coast, I invariably hear the same comment: “I love your magazine – especially the part at the back, Hugh Ware’s column. That’s the first thing I turn to.”

It is with sadness that we publish the final column from our dear friend Hugh, who died shortly after he filed his piece. His wife Joan tells me he loved writing the column, and wanted to keep it going until the very end, and so he did. We were fortunate to have known Hugh, and he will be missed by this editor and his many fans worldwide.