The Bayfront Center for Maritime Studies (BCMS) hosted the first ever Great Lakes Region Primary and Secondary Maritime Education Conference. The conference was held at the BCMS waterfront campus on May 11th and 12th, 2009, in Erie, Pennsylvania.
There has been a growing movement nationally to encourage the development of maritime career opportunity awareness and K-12 maritime education. BCMS specializes in creating hands-on programs that provide maritime access and training ranging from elementary school student educational activities to United States Coast Guard Masters License Certification courses and includes Pennsylvania's only adaptive sailing program.
Conference attendees discussed creating partnerships with businesses, agencies, and organizations that can further the development of schools, career awareness programs, curriculum development, grant writing, student recruitment strategies, and developing collaborations that will create additional opportunities for students and careers in the maritime trades. These efforts are aided by the Maritime Primary and Secondary Education Coalition, headed up by Captain Art Sulzer of the Ship Operations Cooperative Program.
This initiative has received national attention. Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, United States House of Representatives, addressed the group of 57 on Monday, and was presented a canoe to decorate her Washington, DC office from students of the Sarah A. Reed Children's Center that was built by young people from Pennsylvania's 3rd District. Other participants included Anne Dougherty, the Maritime Administration Director of the Office of Maritime Workforce Development, Kathy Sommers, D.Ed., Ohio Department of Education, Captain Art Sulzer representing the Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) and the Maritime Academy School in Philadelphia, Renee Marazon, Superintendent of the Maritime Academy of Toledo, Mark D'Arcy, Lead Instructor and Chief Engineer from the Calhoon Marine Engineers Beneficial Association School of Marine Engineering, Sharon Jacker, Community Coordinator from the Harbor School in New York City, Carol Wolosz, Assistant Director of The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute at the University of Minnesota, Marc Deglinnocenti, National Sea Scout representative to the Maritime Administration, Kevin McMonagle, Vice President of the American Steamship Company, representing the Lake Carriers Association, Mr. Ray Schreckengost, Executive Director of the Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority representing the American Great Lakes Ports Association, and representatives from the American Sail Training Association, Sarah A. Reed Children's Center, Buffalo Computer Graphics, the Western New York Maritime Academy, the Imani II Foundation, Sea Scout Troop Ship II, and the Northwest Tri-county Intermediate Unit.
Conference organizers wish to thank the Ship Operations Cooperative Program, Maritime Primary and Secondary Education Coalition, The Maritime Academy of Toledo, The Maritime Academy Charter High School in Philadelphia, and the Erie Western Pennsylvania Port Authority.