During his congressional testimony, Sulzer cited
Mar Vista, which has had a program for more than five
years, as a huge success in the fledgling movement to
bring maritime education to younger Americans.
He said that by setting higher expectations for the
students in the maritime classes, there was spillover
into their regular course work.
“Because of Coast Guard requirements for training
and passing [tests] and documentation, [students] had
to do more than show [up] in the maritime classes to
get by,” he said. “When they went back to their regular
classes in the afternoon, the brain didn’t get shut off.”
He noted that due to the success of New York Harbor School, located in the heart of Brooklyn, the now
the city plans to build the school a new facility on
Governors Island, off lower Manhattan.
Sulzer said he would be happy even if “not a single
graduate of Maritime Academy Charter School works
on the water but everyone graduates.
“If the kid graduates, we hit a home run. If they go
on to a career or service academy, we just won the
World Series,” he said.
Employers will, Sulzer said, spend $4,000 to $8,000
training an “unknown walking off the street,” but if
that same employer would spend $1,000 on a ninth
grader in a maritime program, “they could build a relationship over four years” that would likely carry over
past graduation and would be a “much better investment than throwing money at unknowns”
One company involved in the development of the
maritime education opportunities welcomes the
chance to expose potential employees to career possibilities at an early age.
“We are very happy to see the emergence of maritime
education in primary and secondary school systems,”
said Timothy Casey, president and CEO of K-Sea Transportation, a New Jersey-based provider of marine transportation, distribution and logistics services.
“These programs can only serve to help the U.S.
maritime industry in its quest for qualified employees,” Casey said. “Whether or not the students from
these institutions pursue further education in the field
and a seagoing career, a new generation is being
exposed to the possibility of a life at sea.” ■