Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (Md.-07), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, joined Bud Nixon, Chairman of the Private Sector Port Coalition, Katrina Jones with the Maryland Port Administration, and Sharon LeGrand of the Maritime Administration to tour Baltimore City's Maritime Industries Academy and discuss new initiatives to ensure that all students enrolled in the school can explore the growing number of opportunities available in the maritime industry.
While the Maritime Industries Academy can boast academic accomplishments-including a 99 percent graduation rate with 85 percent of graduates proceeding to college, impressive attendance rates, and increasing test scores-no maritime coursework was being offered in this maritime-themed school. Congressman Cummings has been working closely with the school's principal, Dr. Marco Clark, leaders of Baltimore's maritime industry, and the new Baltimore City Public School District CEO, Dr. Andres Alonso, to develop programs to fix the deficit in curriculum.
Among the initiatives this small coalition is working to achieve:
Adoption of a maritime curriculum. A curriculum used at a state maritime college is in the process of being adapted for use in 9th grade classes.
· Creation of programs to introduce students to maritime career opportunities. A guest lecture series is being developed to bring industry leaders to the school to discuss opportunities within the industry. Additionally, a spring internship program is being established for students in their senior year.
· Realization of a functioning Junior Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program. On September 1, Chief Warrant Officer Wesley Williams of the Marine Corps will join the school's faculty on a full-time basis to fill one of the two necessary positions to implement an effective JROTC program.
"We have outlined the steps that need to be taken to transform the Maritime Industries Academy into a true maritime high school, and we are now making headway in achieving these goals," Congressman Cummings said. "I am very excited about the enthusiasm of Chief Warrant Officer Williams, and I commend his eagerness to serve first as a Marine and now in a classroom setting. This sort of dedication and commitment to the futures of our children-shown by everyone who has been working to address this issue-is sure to turn this school into a great maritime success story."