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TCC designated as Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education

Tidewater Community College was named a Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD).

The designation was announced in a press release from the agency on May 19, 2021.

The Center of Excellence designation recognizes community colleges and training institutions that prepare students for careers in our nation’s maritime industry. TCC is one of 27 academic institutions in sixteen states and one U.S. territory to receive the designation.

“TCC is committed to continuing the legacy of offering high-quality education and career training for the next generation of maritime professionals,” said TCC President Marcia Conston. “By working together, we’re building a pipeline of skilled technicians for careers at our ports and at sea.”

Maritime worker at a shipyard.

MARAD may now start working with designated institutions to enter into cooperative agreements to help advance recruitment of students and faculty, enhance facilities, award student credit for military service and potentially receive assistance in the form of surplus equipment or temporary use of MARAD vessels. 

“This designation gives us a seal of approval for the work we’re doing in providing quality training for those entering the maritime industry,” added Tamara Williams, TCC’s vice president of Workforce Solutions.

Authorized under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018, the Center of Excellence program is designed to assist the maritime industry in gaining and sustaining a well-trained labor force while enhancing diversity and inclusion in the industry. 

“The Center of Excellence designation recognizes the high standard of maritime education and training provided by the designated community and technical colleges and maritime training centers. These institutions play vital roles in our nation’s maritime industry by providing the training and skills students need to begin and advance careers afloat and ashore,” said Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley.

TCC is one of two designated centers in Virginia.

For information about TCC’s workforce and educational programs, contact the Virtual Student Support Team at or call 757-822-1111.

Information regarding the Center of Excellence program and the application process was disseminated through Federal Register notices. Successful applicants include accredited community colleges, technical colleges and maritime training centers under State supervision. A searchable, interactive map is available to provide information on each Center of Excellence designee. For additional information, please visit Centers of Excellence on the MARAD website.