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Maritime Centers of Excellence legislation is signed into law

The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 12 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. This bipartisan legislation helps address the critical need for trained workers in the maritime industry.

Under this provision, the Secretary of Transportation may enter into cooperative agreements with community and technical colleges with established maritime programs in order to promote and expand maritime workforce education.

Tidewater Community College is one of a handful of colleges that meets the qualifications and will pursue this designation when it becomes available, said President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani.

Hampton Roads’ entire Congressional delegation voted in favor of the act, Kolovani said.

“Maritime jobs help support our regional economy,” she said. “TCC has a long track record of meeting the needs of our maritime employers while providing students with the skills they need to obtain good jobs.

“I am grateful to our representatives for supporting this bipartisan effort, and we will be first in line when the time comes to put this legislation into action.”

Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01) was an early sponsor of the legislation.

“My legislation, added to the NDAA, advances the capabilities of two-year community and technical colleges to assist the federal government and industry in securing the talent pipeline for domestic maritime industry jobs,” he said in a statement. “This means more shipbuilders and repairmen to sustain and expand trade and grow our Navy’s fleet.”

The bill aims to bolster maritime education at two-year and technical colleges by:

  • Admitting additional students
  • Recruiting and training faculty
  • Expanding facilities
  • Creating new maritime career pathways, and
  • Awarding students credit for prior experience, including military experience.

The maritime industry requires technical skills training and licensing, even for entry-level positions. To earn appropriate credentials for each level of maritime industry employment, workers must complete regular training from course providers approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Through their maritime technology programs, TCC and its partner colleges around the country endeavor to ensure maritime employers have access to workplace-ready employees. TCC provides academic and workforce training programs in many of the maritime skills employers are seeking, including logistics, supply-chain management, warehouse and distribution, welding, diesel and gasoline engines, pipe-fitting and inside machinist.

For more information on maritime training programs offered by TCC, contact or call 757-822-1111.