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Virginia Maritime Association charting course for workforce development

Wednesday, November 2, 2016  
  • The Virginia Maritime Association has members of four key demographics in its sights.

They are high school students, college students, service members who are transitioning out of the military and the “thousands and thousands of people working in the maritime industry right now” who are looking to advance within the industry or enhance their existing skills and credentials, Larry Belcher said.

The association plans a career education fair from 2 to 6 p.m. Nov. 16 at Virginia Wesleyan College to introduce those targeted populations, as well as the public, to opportunities within the maritime industry.

Belcher, an enrollment and partnership development specialist with Richard Bland College, said the vision behind the event is to connect the dots between job seekers, workers who are looking to advance their careers, and employers.

“There are over a half million jobs directly or indirectly related to maritime industries throughout the commonwealth,” said Ashley McLeod, the communications and membership director for the maritime association. The event’s purpose, she said, “is not just to come find a job but to learn about jobs – careers – and the training and certification you need, and where you can get those.”

“I want them to know they don’t have to have a four-year degree,” McLeod said of high schoolers.

In the supply chain and logistics field, “it used to be that accounting was our No. 1 concentration because everybody wants to be a CPA because they make a lot of money,” but now, students who are studying supply chain logistics have surpassed those in accounting, said Paul Ewell, chairman of Virginia Wesleyan’s management, business and economics department.

“There aren’t many weeks that go by that I don’t get numerous phone calls from employers saying, ‘We need somebody in this field,’ ” Ewell said.

“A lot of our folks who are currently in the workforce are 55 and over,” McLeod said. “We’re recognizing we need to replenish that workforce and get them prepared and teed up.”

Registration for the event is encouraged at www.vamaritime.com.


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Virginia Maritime Association
236 E. Plume Street Norfolk, VA 23510
Phone: 757-622-2639
Fax: 757-622-6302
vma@vamaritime.com