Maritime Career Fair
By Jack Kiyonaga, Reporter
A career fair last week highlighted opportunities in maritime fields, part of an effort to “keep local people in the local waterfronts,” according to Marimed Foundation CEO Melissa Herbert.
Marimed is a Hawaii nonprofit that offers vocational training, education and community programs for youth, with a focus on maritime opportunities. Along with entities such as Young Brothers and Seafarers International Union, Marimed staff visited the UH Maui College, Molokai (UHMCM) campus on April 6 for the career fair.
Olelo Schonely Spencer, Career and Technical Educational Specialist at UHMCM, explained that the fair was “an attempt to help get our kids and local community motivated to look towards a career in maritime.”
This event was held in conjunction with a resource fair the day prior at the campus, which featured different Maui Colleges including representatives from social work and business technology, among others.
As an advocate for adult and early college vocational training, Spencer explained that much of the UHMCM’s focus is on preparing young adults for careers.
“We were lucky to get 46 [Molokai High School students] down here today with the help of the high school administration,” said Spencer of the maritime career event.
A representative from the Seafarer’s Union explained that demand for maritime jobs has surged since COVID, highlighting that right now, jobs exist in the maritime industry.
“They’re all hiring,” said Spencer.
For Marimed Foundation itself, the goal for the fair centered around connecting local communities with jobs at sea.
“The whole premise for us was to keep local people in the local waterfronts,” explained Herbert. Part of this effort is explaining the benefits of a job at sea.
“You don’t have to move if you don’t want to,” explained Hebert.
The maritime industry commonly uses a split time schedule whereby employees have equal time on and off. The result is that employees could live on Molokai while working on a travelling ship.
“It’s much more than just sea-faring,” said Herbert, citing jobs as nurses, cooks, stewards and more in demand currently.
The Marimed Foundation offers six-week classes blending “culturally appropriate classroom lectures, industry speakers, excursions to operational sites, and hands-on practical applications,” according to Hebert.
The first three weeks are online, with the second half taking place in-person. The course concludes with a paid internship aboard a ship making a five-day voyage through the Hawaiian Islands. Made possible by various grants including ones from Alu Like and the Castle Foundation, Marimed Foundation’s courses are free of charge. For more information, visit marimed.org.