The following is the text of a news release from Foss Maritime:
(SEATTLE) — Foss Maritime announced today a partnership to establish the curriculum for a new marine 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 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 10th 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 sea time as an apprentice.
"This partnership exists to respond to the growing need for more trained marine engineers," said Scott Merritt, senior vice president of harbor services for Foss. "Working together, we aim to train hundreds, if not thousands, of new apprentices in the maritime and advanced manufacturing fields."
The American maritime industry is experiencing a lack of licensed marine engineers, a shortage that will soon be increased when new requirements requiring structured onboard training for all trainee engineers take effect on Jan. 1, 2017. The new requirements were created by the 2010 Manila Amendments to the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) guided STCW Convention. When they go into effect, said 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," said 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 toward 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.