Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton announced a new maritime high school curriculum that will help prepare the next generation of high school graduates for the tens of thousands of maritime jobs that will be available during the next five years.
At least 18 maritime high schools have begun operations in the United States in the last decade, and there are more in the planning stages. There has been no standardized curriculum for such high schools; the new document outlines courses to give all students a basic understanding of the Marine Transportation System.
“To meet the growing demand for maritime jobs both at sea and ashore, we must begin to educate our next generation workforce on the benefits of a maritime career,” said Connaughton. “This program will assist high schools across the United States in exposing students to the opportunities that exist in the maritime sector.”
"With the development of this curriculum, the Maritime Administration has created a firm cornerstone on which individual maritime schools can build," said Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (Md-7th), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. "The maritime industry offers endless opportunities for our young people, and I am extremely pleased to see this giant step forward in attracting and training the next generation of U.S. mariners."
This program was developed by the Maritime Administration’s Office of Business and Workforce Development in order to address an anticipated global shortage of skilled maritime employees in the coming years. In 2005, the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) and the International Shipping Federation estimated a shortage of 10,000 officers, expected to increase to 27,000 by 2015. Current estimates from industry vary widely, but are all higher, with some estimating a shortage of 90,000 mariners by 2015.
During their freshman year, students will gain a general understanding of the maritime industry, its history and the role the maritime sector plays in the everyday lives of Americans. During their sophomore year, students will be introduced to the various jobs across the maritime industry and the requirements necessary to work in the industry.
In their junior and senior years, the students can choose a career path between the merchant marine, shipbuilding and repair, and port operations to ensure they receive specialized training in their desired career. At the completion of the program, graduates can choose to go directly to work for a shipyard or a maritime company or continue their education by attending a maritime academy, college, or trade school.
The curriculum outline is available on the Maritime Administration web site, www.marad.dot.gov.