The Southeast Maritime and Transportation (SMART) Center

The Southeast Maritime and Transportation (SMART) Center is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center in the maritime and transportation industry. It serves as a regional educational and economic model for preparing a sustainable, globally-prepared maritime and transportation workforce for the 21st century. It is one of 39 ATE Centers across the country focused on improving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematic) education to meet the technician workforce needs of advanced technological industries in the U.S. It is the only ATE Center solely focused on the maritime and transportation industry.

Working closely with industry and education partners the SMART Center is focused on:

  • facilitating synergistic partnerships between industry partners, educators, and community college workforce development departments
  • consolidating education criteria for specific maritime occupations
  • developing SMART career pathways and education programs
  • facilitating the portability of credentials among employers
  • promoting awareness of maritime, transportation, and logistics careers to students, parents, educators, administrators, and guidance counselors


The SMART Center has been recognized by leaders at the national, state, and local level for:

  • creating meaningful industry partnerships
  • its innovative work in developing industry-recognized portable credentials
  • facilitating creation of a new A.A.S. degree in Maritime Technologies at host partner site Tidewater Community College (TCC)
  • undertaking primary research to identify crucial workforce needs within the industry
  • creating innovative training programs to meet employers’ workforce development training requirements
  • providing STEM K-12, middle school and high school teachers, CTE teachers, career coaches and guidance counselors with annual intensive professional development opportunities


We are located on Tidewater Community College's Virginia Beach campus in the Advanced Technology Center (ATC). 

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