Clatsop Community College has received national designation as a 2021 Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education (CoE) for the Maritime Science Program.
On May 19, 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) announce 27 recipients of this designation across 16 states recognizing community colleges and training institutions that prepare students for careers in the maritime industry. CCC President Chris Breitmeyer received a message from U.S. Department of Transportation Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley stating the confirmation of the designation and recognizing the importance of the Maritime program the college offers. In her message she wrote, “The CoE designation recognizes the tremendous value that your institution provides to our nation by developing and preparing students for demanding careers in our vitally important maritime industry. Your graduates have made outstanding contributions to the industry over the years which is an excellent testimonial to the superior academic and professional education and training they received while attending Clatsop Community College.”
According to the release from MARAD, being selected as a Center of Excellence will open opportunities 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 the MARAD vessels.
Kristen Wilkin, the Dean of Workforce Education and Training, oversees the Maritime Science Program at CCC and is proud of the faculty and students who made this possible, “The Center of Excellence designation for Clatsop Community College has been years in the making and showcases the hard work and dedication of all our former and current Maritime Science faculty and staff to our students. Those students then pay that hard work and dedication forward when they leave the program and that is our biggest achievement as an educational institution.”
Bill Antilla, a 25-year full-time instructor in the Maritime Science Program, has been advocating for national recognition of the program for over 17 years. Bill retired last year from the full-time position but remained committed to the Maritime Science Program as a part-time instructor and even in retirement continued to push the application forward for this designation elaborating, “This designation by MARAD opens the door to the possibility of new resources to allow us to better serve our students and the Maritime industry. Given the critical nature of maritime transportation to our economy, changes such as this, that allow the industry to improve safety and efficiency of operations have the potential for significant economic impacts throughout the region.”
CCC President Breitmeyer also notes the years of perseverance to making this designation happen for the program, “Bill Antilla played a pivotal role in bringing this designation to fruition. He advocated for recognition of maritime education and contributed to the enactment of the legislation that resulted in the centers of excellence program. Not only has he been an advocate for CCC but for all maritime training centers.”
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. In the press release from MARAD, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated, “Our collaboration with these institutions represents an important expansion of MARAD’s role in supporting maritime education and will help form pathways to good-paying American jobs in our nation’s maritime industry.”