The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (Marad) announced today that it is accepting applications from eligible and qualified institutions to apply for a Centers of Excellence (CoE) designation, which will recognize and support community or technical colleges and maritime training centers that prepare people for careers in the maritime industry.

“These educational institutions benefit America’s national security and economy by growing and strengthening our maritime workforce,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a statement.

The CoE Program is a voluntary program administered by Marad that recognizes and supports community or technical colleges and maritime training centers that prepare Americans for careers in the maritime industry. Marad may enter cooperative agreements with designated COEs to advance recruitment and training of students and faculty, enhance facilities, award student credit for military service, create new maritime career pathways, enhance employer-led maritime training practices, and potentially receive assistance in the form of surplus equipment or temporary use of Maritime Administration vessels.

“Exciting career opportunities lie ahead for those entering the maritime field, and many of those new entrants will serve our nation directly, advancing both our national security as well as our nation’s continued economic recovery,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 provides the secretary of transportation with discretionary authority to designate eligible and qualified entities as CoEs. Marad has developed and published comprehensive agency guidance on applying for CoE designation and how the CoE program will be administered, including eligibility requirements and selection criteria.

Eligible and qualified organizations can submit applications and supporting documents via electronic mail to [email protected] and may also submit a copy by mail to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, Deputy Associate Administrator for Maritime Education and Training, Attention: CoE Designation Program,1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590.

Additional information is available by contacting Nuns Jain, Office of Strategic Sealift, at [email protected], (757) 322-5801, or Maritime Administration, Building 19, Suite 300, 7737 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, VA 23505.