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Schools Add Training for Boating Jobs August 26, 2014

Broward County Public Schools and others in the state and beyond are creating initiatives to offer classes and curricula that educate, train and in some areas certify students for jobs in area industries, including the marine industry. Many of these tie into STEM efforts, where students are immersed in and gain more intensive training in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Even more focused are LEEO (Linked Education and Employment Outcomes) projects that combine computer instruction and employability training to teach students to become proficient in a specified technological area, such as Microsoft Office software, and acquire the skills necessary to compete in a global society.

In an August 5 Industry Week online article, the shortage of job candidates who have STEM skills are reported to have grown so pronounced that high school graduates with STEM backgrounds are now in higher demand in the job market than college graduates who don’t have STEM skills. This is a key finding of a new Brookings Institution report, “Still Searching: Job Vacancies and STEM Skills.”

“The concept of merging work or employability skills with educational content is absolutely the greatest gift we can give to our students in order for them to be successful in post-secondary education and in the work world,” states Ted Davis, Maritime Magnet Coordinator at South Broward High School. “Applying the LEEO concept to classroom instruction is pure genius! Therefore we have decided to devote extra effort to ensure an impressive implementation of the program over the next two years.”

South Broward is a Maritime/Marine Science magnet and has changed its curriculum recently to adapt to the needs of students and industry in South Florida and especially in Broward. Several magnet tracks now include Cambridge Marine Science, and will add Cambridge Computer Science & Coding. Also included are Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Maritime Technology, Geospatial Science, and Marine Service Technology. South Broward teachers are currently working with LEEO educators from Plantation and Coral Springs High Schools. These high schools have adopted the LEEO concept to fit the projects already in progress. Currently, 13 middle and high schools are offering LEEO programs in the county.

One of the most successful maritime programs in the U.S., the South Broward Maritime Academy provides ocean experiences for over hundreds of students each year. The Marine Propulsion & Technology building houses a variety of outboard engines, jet skis and small boats where students in the marine Service Program earn four years of certification training in marine engine mechanics. Says Davis, “Our graduating students are being sought after by the industry for jobs that may pay $70,000 a year. These include jobs at sea as engineers, licensed deck crew, NOAA Corps scientists and International Transportation & Trade personnel.”

“There are several excellent tools available now for us to use in the classroom for the students to collaborate and plan with each other, and access mentors from industry and professors from Broward College,” Davis explains. “The idea here is that students interact with academia and industry to experience successful and innovative project accomplishment while using digital communications and technology programs. An international aspect allows them to deal with real world problems such as time zone differences and workflow from offshore work sites.”

Programs are designed by grade level, and high schools provide statewide planning partnerships between the business and education communities to attract, expand, and retain targeted, high-value industry personnel. This will help sustain a strong, knowledge-based economy which is the goal of the Florida’s Career and Professional Education Act (CAPE). Originally passed in 2007, the Act focused on industry certification attainment by secondary students. In 2013 the state Legislature expanded it to include industry certification achievement by postsecondary students.

Partners in Education for the LEEO initiative at South Broward include Florida Power & Light, NextEra Energy, Port Everglades, Marine Industries Association of South Florida, Maritime Professional Training, Propeller Club of Port Everglades, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, and DHL (originally standing for Dalsey, Hillblom and Lynn). For additional details about Broward’s “Innovative Programs” visit www.BrowardSchoolsInnovativePrograms.com. To inquire how a firm might become involved in the mentoring process, contact Davis at ted.davis@browardschools.com

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Marine Industries Association of South Florida. 221 SW 3rd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. Phone: 954.524.2733