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Investing in the Future

May 28, 2015

Students at 2015 Education Celebration 

The Port of Long Beach supports one in eight jobs in Long Beach, more than 316,000 jobs in a five-county region, and 1.4 million jobs across the nation.

Maintaining and growing those jobs are among the measures of the Port’s success.

“The Port has a tremendous interest in ensuring there are qualified people to fill the jobs that it needs to remain competitive,” said Thomas O’Brien, executive director of the Center of International Trade and Transportation (CITT) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).

On May 20, the Port held its second Celebrating Education Reception, spotlighting its existing programs and new initiatives developed to teach students about the Port and international trade, and cultivate the work force of the future. During the event, the Port announced scholarships totaling $58,500 to 27 recipients.

Michael Gold speaking at Education CelebrationThe 2015 scholars include graduating high school seniors pursuing international trade or related studies in college; CSULB students studying international business; Long Beach City College students preparing for skilled trade and technical careers; and working professionals in CSULB’s Global Logistics Specialist program. With the latest round, the Port has awarded $607,650 in scholarships to 351 recipients since 1993.

The Port also honored Matson, Inc. as its 2015 “Champion of Education.” The award recognizes an industry partner that has been a longstanding supporter of Port education programs. John Rowan, Matson’s manager of National Household Goods, accepted the award on the company’s behalf.

During the event, Port Director of Communications and Community Relations Michael Gold highlighted the Port’s newest education outreach programs created under a plan adopted in 2014 by the Board of Harbor Commissioners. All were developed in consultation with local high school educators who make up the Port’s Education Advisory Committee.

  • Career and Trade Fair: In partnership with Long Beach Unified, CSULB and industry partners, the Port spotlighted growing careers in international trade and related skilled crafts at the university’s College and Career Fair last November. The event, which draws thousands of high school students to the Walter Pyramid, featured a dozen booths showcasing fields such as engineering, security, communications, construction and other Port-related occupations. Prior to the event, the Port brought 200 Long Beach high school students to the university for smaller, pre-fair workshops on themes such as “Applying for Your First Job, “Earn While You Learn: Apprenticeships,” “Jobs in International Trade,” and “Women in Maritime Careers.”
  • Teacher “Externships”: This summer, 14 teachers from eight local high schools will participate in the Port’s first study program, or “externships,” for educators. Developed by Cal State Long Beach’s Center for International Trade and Transportation,  the weeklong course includes lectures, face-to-face meetings with maritime professionals, and on-site tours of cargo operations. The Port worked with CITT to create the program after teachers said they wanted to learn more about Port operations and the maritime industry to help students connect the dots between math, science, language and other disciplines and trade-related careers and opportunities.
  • Academy.polb.com: This month, the Port launched a new website where students and teachers will find information on Port scholarships, internships, boat tours, field trips, videos, trade-related lesson plans and other resources. A new feature is the Port’s career page, where student can learn about trade-related careers, what they pay, and where to find local education and training programs. Videos spotlight real people at work – engineers, electricians, trade specialists and others, why they chose their career, and what their work entails. Lesson plans developed by the Port’s first externship class will be added to the website. The Port also plans to use the site as a virtual classroom where students and teachers can link to real-time lectures and interactive lessons.

Highlights of ongoing Port programs include:

  • Harbor tours: During 2014, the Port took more than 700 high school, community college and university students on boat tours. Narrated by Port staff, the tours offer students a close-up view of Port operations that span more than 7,600 acres of land and water.
  • Classroom speakers and career days: Over the past year, Port representatives spoke to more than 1,100 students in local schools.
  • High school internships: Last summer, the Port welcomed 25 high school students for paid summer internships. The program began in 2011 with 10 students. At the May 20 reception, the Port announced its new class of 25 interns. The eight-week program includes job-skills training at the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network.

In addition to its program for high school students, the Port also offers college internships. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who has challenged city businesses and institutions to double the number of available internships, praised the Port as a leader in advancing on-the-job training opportunities for local youth.

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