Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration announced the designation of 27 Centers of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education (CoE), recognizing community colleges and training institutions that prepare students for careers in the U.S. maritime industry.
One of the 27 schools and institutions recognized is the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI).
The designation allows CCRI to work with MARAD to enter into cooperative agreements to help advance recruitment of students and faculty, enhance facilities, award student credit for military service and potentially receive assistance in the form of surplus equipment or temporary use of MARAD vessels.
“Our collaboration with these institutions represents an important expansion of MARAD’s role in supporting maritime education and will help form pathways to good-paying American jobs in our nation’s maritime industry,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Authorized under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018, the CoE program is designed to assist the maritime industry in gaining and sustaining a well-trained labor force while enhancing diversity and inclusion in the industry.
“Hands-on, jobs-based education helps students launch careers in good-paying, in-demand jobs. The maritime industry has a proud history and tradition in the Ocean State and there are a lot of job opportunities for people in this field with the right knowledge and skills, particularly in the defense sector. I commend CCRI for earning this recognition as a center of excellence and for ensuring a pipeline of well-trained workers capable of supporting our growing maritime industry,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
“Well done to CCRI on securing this designation, which paves the way for additional federal investments in training the Ocean State’s maritime workforce,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “From offshore wind to the marine trades and composites manufacturing, Rhode Island’s Blue Economy has significant potential for growth. As a Maritime Center of Excellence, CCRI will help equip Rhode Islanders with the skills to land good jobs in those promising maritime industries.”
Governor Daniel McKee added, “It comes as no surprise to me that CCRI is one of the first institutions designated as a Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education. I applaud CCRI for utilizing resources right here in the Ocean State to prepare students for a career in the maritime industry, bolster our economy and our workforce, and continue to recognize and protect our state’s maritime heritage.”
“As a central driver of in-demand workforce training for the State of Rhode Island, CCRI will leverage our designation as a Maritime Center of Excellence to build workforce solutions to address the unique workforce challenges of the maritime industry in our region,” said CCRI President Meghan Hughes. “Through our statewide and regional partnerships and afloat and ashore programs, CCRI will continue to benefit our national security and economy by growing and strengthening our maritime workforce.”
“I’m so proud that CCRI is being recognized for its outstanding workforce development programming in the maritime industry,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “Our national security – and our sustained economic growth – depends on a highly-skilled workforce that is able to meet the challenges of the 21st century. As always, CCRI continues to lead the way, forging pathways for Rhode Islanders to secure good-paying jobs in our booming blue economy.”
“Rhode Islanders are fortunate to live in a state with so many incredible colleges and universities. CCRI has become a national leader in providing young people with the skills and training they need to get good-paying jobs in the maritime industry,” said Congressman David Cicilline. “I’m proud that they have received this designation, and I look forward to continuing to work with leaders across our state to ensure every Rhode Islander has an opportunity not just to get by, but to get ahead.”
“CCRI engages maritime industry organizations, including the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA), Oliver Hazard Perry (OHPRI) and the United States Maritime Resource Center (USMRC) to develop programming, hire talent from the maritime programs, connect CCRI with their small-business networks, and provide guidance on future maritime training. In collaboration with General Dynamics Electric Boat, CCRI built maritime pipefitting, sheet metal and electrical courses that prepare students to work at Electric Boat’s Quonset, RI and Groton, CT shipyards. These courses, delivered by CCRI in partnership with the Westerly Education Center, provide participants with the skills and knowledge required for employment at Electric Boat in the production of vessels for the United States Navy,” said Executive Director for Workforce Partnerships Tekla Moquin.
Looking forward, CCRI said it plans to leverage this designation to support the development of maritime-related workforce training for the emerging offshore wind industry.
“The CoE designations recognize the high standard of maritime education and training provided by the designated community and technical colleges and maritime training centers. These institutions play vital roles in our nation’s maritime industry by providing the training and skills students need to begin and advance careers afloat and ashore,” said Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley.
“Rhode Island is home to a wide range of maritime industries that must continue to maintain a trained and ample workforce to preserve the state’s highly integrated maritime economy. CCRI and its partners play a critical role in this maintenance, and CCRI’s designation as a Maritime Center of Excellence will fortify our ability to do so,” Hughes said.
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