JANUARY 21, 2016 — Seattle-based Foss Maritime has partnered with a number of marine educational institutions to establish an engineering apprenticeship program and to sponsor several applicants each year.
Seattle Central College, Seattle Maritime Academy, the Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies-Pacific Maritime Institute and the Workboat Academy have received a $5 million American Apprenticeship Innovation Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help build a new apprenticeship program.
Through the grant, more than 150 engineers will be trained over the next five years, both in Seattle and Baltimore. The engineering program will mirror Workboat Academy's deck apprenticeship, now in its tenth year. Engineering cadets will blend time in the classroom with simulation, and apply this knowledge to real work aboard vessels. The candidate's license will depend on the type of partner company vessels and the routes where cadets gain seatime as an apprentice.
"This partnership exists to respond to the growing need for more trained marine engineers," says Scott Merritt, Foss Maritime's Senior Vice President, Harbor Services. "Working together, we aim to train hundreds, if not thousands, of new apprentices in the maritime and advanced manufacturing fields."
Foss notes that the American maritime industry is experiencing a lack of licensed marine engineers. The shortage will soon be increased when new requirements requiring structured on-board training for all trainee engineers take effect on Jan. 1, 2017. The new requirements were created by the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention. When they go into effect, says Mr. Merritt, the U.S. fleet will lack licensed engineers and the capacity to properly train and certify engineers to participate in global maritime trade.
"Foss knows we need to help build a pipeline to develop the engineers we will need in the years to come," says Mr. Merritt. "We're pleased to have this opportunity to develop the curriculum and training for the next generation of marine engineers."
Foss officers will train and assess the apprentices according to the standards required by the United States Coast Guard for Tasks needed towards a USCG License. The program will be built on a proven Officer in Charge of an Engineering Watch (OICNW) Apprenticeship Model. It is fully accredited, and applies to all marine engineering levels.