Last week, U.S. Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia, D-Texas, introduced H.R. 987a bill that would create a grant program for community and technical colleges that offer training programs for maritime industry professions. The bill would authorize $200 million nationwide to fund the grant program.

“Maritime industry jobs are a critical part of our nation’s economy. Yet research has shown that there may soon be a shortage of maritime industry workers,” said Rep. Garcia. “Therefore, it is essential that Congress act to support community and technical colleges providing training for the next generation of workers in this industry to avoid a future workforce shortage.”

"Countless Alaskans make their living on the ocean, and we should be doing all that we can to support our mariners by providing them with the job training programs needed to support the maritime workforce. This is needed now more than ever given the effects of the pandemic on our economy," said Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. "Our community colleges have long been an excellent resource for career training and development, and they can play an important role in equipping future mariners with the skills they need to be successful. I am proud to introduce this legislation to enable our community colleges to help meet the demand for sailors, fishermen, and others whose livelihoods depend on our waters. Standing with our mariners is one of my highest priorities, and I will continue working to ensure that they have the skills and support necessary to thrive.”

"San Jacinto College is grateful to Congresswoman Garcia for her leadership in connection with this legislation,” Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor of San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, located near Houston. “The Houston region was recently named second in the United States for the number of mariners living or working in the area. The Houston Ship Channel is a major hub for this activity.  As a maritime training provider, San Jacinto College and our maritime students are grateful for this proposal for grant funding of the Community and Technical College Maritime Centers of Excellence program.”

“The bipartisanship and geographic diversity exhibited by the bill’s original cosponsors show the importance of this issue in Congress," Garcia said. "We will continue to work together on this shared priority.”