The Propeller Club – Port of Tampa is actively working foster growth of the next generation of maritime employees. The Club’s Education Committee collaborates with Hillsborough County Public Schools on its popular maritime education program at Jefferson High School. Students who participate in these programs go through a four-year maritime curriculum to prepare them for jobs in the maritime industry or continued maritime education at Maritime Academies, community colleges and technical colleges. The Propeller Club has partnered with the Hillsborough County School District on the program since 2011.
Maritime job openings for positions such as mates, loaders, inspectors, pilots and engineers are growing at double-digit rates as a wave of older maritime workers retire. The partnership between the Propeller Club and the school district helps grow that next generation of workers. The maritime program utilizes hands-on activities, laboratory research, tours of local maritime businesses, and interact with local port businesses. This prepares students for college and advanced degrees leading to excellent maritime-related careers, and direct work in lucrative, stable, maritime-related jobs.
At the start of the program, club members were instrumental in the design of the curriculum for the current State approved course Maritime Technology (8404100). The program is designed around 16 major maritime topics such as: maritime history, careers, engineering, vessels, port operations, ship operations, law, marine biology, oceanography, etc. The curriculum design team intentionally used this approach to reflect the diversity of the Propeller Club’s businesses and to encourage student understanding of the maritime industry from a variety of perspectives. Since the initial curriculum design, members have worked on an update, which is currently being used in all the Florida Maritime Technology programs.
The Education Committee meets once every two months with the high school teachers to discuss how members can assist with delivery of the curriculum through guest speakers, field trip access, special materials, and other support. In addition, members are currently working on a post-secondary (college) program to provide yet another option for high school graduates as well as incumbent workers to expand their knowledge and growth potential in the industry.
Members participate in the Annual Maritime Career Expo, held at Jefferson High School. This Expo provides members an opportunity to meet the students and provide professional insight into their work within the industry. This event is truly rewarding and very influential to our young people as they make career choices and develop their trajectory into the workforce.
Members have assisted other school districts implement the Maritime Technology program in their areas. Schools in Broward and Brevard County have implemented the program. The club continues to work with other ports to help establish new programs to support all of Florida’s deep water ports.
The Education Committee welcomes members to join and help support these and other endeavors. For more information, contact Jakub Prokop at firstname.lastname@example.org.
List of past and current students enrolled in the maritime program: Jefferson HS Maritime and Marine Science Academy Students