By Mark Edward Nero
The Port of Seattle is kicking off its 2017 summer intern program with 150 paid roles for high school and college students, which is triple the number of positions offered just two years ago.
“We need to tackle three fundamental challenges in our economy right now: a coming labor shortfall in skilled trades and port-related industries, fewer industries creating good paying jobs that support the middle class, and a lack of opportunities in disadvantaged communities,” Port of Seattle Commissioner Stephanie Bowman explained.
“We designed our internship program and partnerships to do more to inspire students to explore these industries, learn about skills training and get connected to opportunities,” she said.
In addition, area businesses in the maritime and manufacturing sectors are participating in an expanded pilot program to host and train their own interns. Last year, companies like Vigor and Status Ceramics partnered with the port to create additional opportunities for students.
This year, participation in the program means the placement of a port-recruited intern, and support in the form of training for intern supervisors, access to youth counselors, and off-site education and enrichment opportunities.
In addition to youth career exploration events, the Port of Seattle supports programs with local private employers and unions to improve career pathways for airport workers looking to take on more challenging and higher wage work. The Port is also working to increase adult referrals to pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship and union trades job opportunities through a trades partnership with local governments and nonprofits.
On March 30, the Youth Maritime Collaborative hosted an interactive event where those interested in maritime careers could meet potential employers and explore a variety of opportunities in the field.
The Youth Maritime Collaborative is an organization of maritime industry companies, educational institutions, non-profits, community service providers and public agencies established to help address the maritime industry’s urgent need for skilled workers.