SMART Center PI Participates in "Internships and Apprenticeships" Webinar
SMART Center PI Barbara Murray recently participated in a webinar on "Internships and Apprenticeships: Successful Strategies for Workplace-Based Learning Experiences" hosted by the Centers Collaborative for Technical Assistance (CCTA) to assist National Science Foundation (NSF) and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) grant awardees with models, tools and tips for successfully implementing these programs.
The SMART Maritime Technologies pathway which is based on the registered apprenticeship model has been widely praised by maritime and transportation industry leaders and educators for providing students with a highly-structured process for obtaining both classroom education and on-the-job training as well as embedded credentials. "The registered apprenticeship pathway is the gold standard for the shipbuilding, repair, maintenance and modernization sector of the maritime and transportation industry," explains Murray. "Apprentices leave college with a certificate or degree debt-free, with valuable industry credentials, on-the-job experience, and years of earning full-time pay and benefits. It's an incomparable route for students to start on a great career path and for employers to grow their own workforce." The SMART Center's host institution - Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Virginia - offers the SMART Maritime Technologies pathway which offers stackable academic certificates that can culminate in an A.A.S. Maritime Technologies degree. "Those graduates who are also registered apprentices and their required apprenticeship classroom instruction qualifies for college credit through the pathway which is unique. They also earn the highly-valued DOL Journeyman credential which ensures competitive pay and benefit rates anywhere they work in the U.S. over the course of their worklife."
Murray pointed out that in other industry sectors like vessel operations workers must have demonstrated "sea time" in order to be able to earn necessary U.S. Coast Guard credentials and move along their career pathway. "Internships through vessel operations companies like ship, tug, tow and barge lines provide a truly unparalleled opportunity for students to earn that time working on the water while also taking courses for credit toward a college degree," explains Murray. "Being able to obtain that sea time and being a full-time student at the same time is invaluable." The SMART Center's primary partner on the Gulf Coast - San Jacinto College in Houston, Texas - offers critically-needed industry courses and degree programs as well as intership opportunities through Houston-area maritime employers in an effort to meet the projected need for 70,000 seafarers nationwide within the next four years.