Washington State House Democrats


Readying young people for careers in maritime industries

May 26, 2016

Readying young people for careers in maritime industries

SEATTLE – Today Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle) joined Port of Seattle Commissioners and maritime businesses to launch a new internship program that will prepare high school students for careers and help develop the next generation of maritime workers. Representative Eric Pettigrew was able to secure funding for this pilot project in the 2016 Supplemental Budget.

“The Port of Seattle and our maritime industries need a skilled and qualified workforce, and high school students need the opportunity to engage with these industries and learn skills that can prepare them for successful careers,” said Pettigrew. “This internship program is providing a path for students and a pipeline of trained workers for these in-demand, family-wage jobs.”

At Rep. Pettigrew’s urging, the 2016 Supplemental Budget includes funding for a pilot program that will place 20 students from two different Seattle high schools in a 5 ½ week summer internship program at a participating maritime business. The program is aimed at helping disadvantaged kids, including many children of color who are underrepresented in the maritime industry. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will provide a report to the legislature on the successes and challenges of the pilot program.

Students who participate in the program will first be provided with an orientation on fundamental work skills including work attendance, professional behavior and appropriate attire. Then the students will spend their time working in one of the area maritime businesses.

“Businesses have been coming to the legislature year after year asking for us to invest in education that will prepare students for the highly-skilled jobs that are in demand in our region,” said Pettigrew. “This program is a great way to meet this need and make sure that all young people have opportunities regardless of their background.”

The legislature funded the pilot program for $50,000 in 2016 and $50,000 in 2017 with the requirement that that money be matched by outside sources from the Port or maritime businesses.