CTE program prepares for modern port careers

CTE program prepares for modern port careers

(Calif.) The Port of Long Beach has awarded a handful of high school students scholarships for its summer internship program in an effort to pique their interest in modern port careers.

According to port officials, the summer learning program gives students an opportunity to work in various divisions of the port, including communications, personnel, surveying, engineering, business development, maintenance, transportation planning and environmental planning. Some are also assigned the city’s Fire Department and Civil Service Department.

Lee Peterson, spokesman for the port, said students also participate in group tours of other port-related work sites, such as the marine terminal or the oil-pumping islands in Long Beach Harbor.

“In addition to seeing what professionals do on a daily basis in various departments, which may lead to interests in certain careers, the high school interns are also instructed in general professional standards of conduct in a workplace,” Peterson said. “We are always looking to get the local students interested in port-related careers, and this is one way to give them a chance to see what those opportunities may be.”

A growing number of states have passed legislation in recent years aimed at promoting career technical education and training, and districts have begun developing career pathways directly targeting local community needs.

In Maine, for instance, high school-level firefighting programs were developed to help train and recruit young people for short staffed stations. And in Ohio, one high school allows students the opportunity to graduate poised to earn an emergency medical technician credential. And in states with large numbers of rural schools, including Nebraska, Idaho and South Dakota, lawmakers have increased funding to expand CTE and encouraged schools to partner with local industry leaders.

Enrollment in CTE courses has grown drastically in some parts of the country as program offerings have expanded. Since 2014, the Delaware Pathways program has expanded from offering advanced manufacturing to include career options in fields including healthcare, engineering, finance, hospitality management, computer science and biomedical science. As a result, enrollment in CTE increased from just 27 students a few years ago to about 9,000 students at the end of the 2017-18 school year, according to state education officials.

Through the Port of Long Beach career training program–which lasts from June 25 to August 16–students gain real-world, hands-on experience under the guidance of a selected staff mentor.

Some of the careers students will be exposed to through the port’s career education program will require them to attain college degrees. If a student chooses to pursue a job as an environmental specialist or an international trade specialist, students will have to go on to acquire at least a Bachelor's Degree.

Other port careers, such as land surveying, commercial diving or cement finishing require certification or on-the-job apprenticeships.

The Port of Long Beach is a gateway for trans-¬Pacific trade, with 175 shipping lines connecting Long Beach to 217 seaports. According to officials, the port handles $180 billion in trade annually, and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in Southern California.

Port of Long Beach high school scholarship candidates are limited to upper class high school students with a grade point average of at least 2.5 and on track to attend an accredited college, university, community college or vocational program in the fall of 2018. They must also plan to major in a field related to international trade, goods movement or other port-related industries such as international business, maritime law, global logistics, engineering, environmental science and security.

The port awarded almost $55,000 to students from local high schools, Long Beach City College and California State University, Long Beach at its fifth annual event promoting education in part-related careers.

In a statement announcing the scholarships, the port’s executive director, Mario Cordero, said that developing a young, highly trained workforce focused on innovation and technology is vital in maintaining and energizing the “city’s primary economic engine.”