In good times and in bad, maritime workers are a constant source of concern. Do you have enough of them? How easy will it be to get the extra workers you need? How expensive will it be to train them?
These are some of the issues that the state of Louisiana is trying to help employers find the answers to in an effort to help fill maritime companies’ needs.
“There will be 3,000 additional employees needed over the next five years,” said Tina Tinney, vice chancellor of strategic initiatives, Northshore Technical Community College. “We recognize a need to be more aggressive in marketing maritime programs.”
Tinney spoke during a session on workforce education at the International WorkBoat Show in New Orleans on Thursday. WorkBoat, along with the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), held a Maritime Workforce Career Fair on the final day of this year’s show.
Tinney explained that some of the state’s community colleges are now offering maritime associates degrees. With the help of industry partners, students in the associate degree program have traditional courses tailored to their needs. “We learned that one of the problems that employers had, for example, was failed drug tests by their candidates,” said Tinney, adding that, as an example, the students’ psychology class was a concentration on the psychology of drug dependency. “It’s been a very interesting experience.”
Tinney also said that educators are working with industry partners to help expose the maritime industry to younger students. She said students from kindergarten through high school are given tours of different marine companies on Mondays.