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Seattle maritime industry looks to high schools for new work force

Seattle's maritime industry needs a new generation to replace its aging work force. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE -- High school students, across the area, got a first-hand look on Thursday at life in the maritime industry.

It was all part of an effort to address the need for young mariners as the industry faces an aging work force.

"It makes me want to jump on board to do things like this in life," said Malcolm Dunston, who's a junior at Rainier Beach High School.

Dunston joined more than 100 students at Seattle Maritime Academy on Thursday morning where they explored the maritime industry and future job opportunities through demonstrations and lectures.


"It's awesome," said Dunston. "I'm actually happy they actually had me out here and trying out new things I've never tried before."

For many of the students, the event was their very first time on a boat; some have never even been on a Washington State Ferry.

"I think a marine life and maritime jobs are very important, especially in Seattle because we're a port city," said Chardai Thomas, who's a junior at Franklin High School.

Until recently, Ballard High School was the only place where students at Seattle Public Schools could explore college or career opportunities in the maritime industry, but that's changing.

This summer, the Seattle Skills Center is starting a maritime operations course at the Seattle Maritime Academy to give students hands-on training.

"There's a real need out there that we're hearing from our industry partners that they want to hire people right now, and they don't have trained people to hire," said Seattle Skills Center Principal Dan Golosman.

KOMO News has previously reported the maritime industry expects a shortage of 150,000 workers by 2025. Many now hope the high school students at Thursday's event could fill that gap.

"I was deciding between automotive or maritime but there's such a need and demand for guys in the maritime (industry) I knew I'd get a lot of good opportunities," said Roosevelt High School senior Ben Lundquist

You can find out more about the Seattle Skills Center here.


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