LONG BEACH— Fueled by a desire to spark the interest of local youths, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners recently approved $150,000 for an educational outreach initiative to increase the Port of Long Beach’s exposure in educational arenas.
What has been called “seed” funds, the allotted resources will provide a foundation for the port’s future instructive endeavors.
Plans include the creation of a newly designed port education website aimed at informing students of potential scholarships, internships and trade information, among many other bullet points. Michael Gold, the port’s director of communications and community relations, said that the plan includes a port-related curriculum, trade-related career videos and an interactive “Virtual Port High School” for those seeking a pathway to a future career.
“These objectives are to reach as many students as possible in Long Beach, to include trades in our outreach efforts so that we’re not just focused on college-bound students, keeping focus on projects that work in the classroom and don’t add to but enhance what teachers are already doing,” Gold said at the meeting.
While the port’s previous education outreach plan expired in 2012, Gold and other port officials led extensive meetings with stakeholders in an effort to reach the ultimate goal of teaching the area youths about the port and it’s significant. The key objectives include: fostering opportunities for students to learn about careers in trade and engaging in positive relationships with the community, the international trade industry, elected officials and government agencies.
The allocated funds will also provide a learning platform for teachers with the creation of an externship program focusing on the intricacies of port operations.
“I’m so excited about this program that Mr. Gould has initiated,” said Sunny Zia, Long Beach Community College Board trustee. “I’m thrilled that we’re going to have tangible results that we can turn to and outcomes that we can really count on for the future of our community.”
Also included in the plan is a maritime-based career and trade fair for students. The event will “educate students about maritime careers at all skill-levels and promote interaction between maritime professionals, students and educators.”
“Long Beach is committed and we’re going to be putting money in to support this plan, because we want every single student to college and career ready,” said Chris Steinhauser, Long Beach Unified School District superintendent.
The port first developed a formal education outreach plan in 2007. The presented material was an updated version to the previously instituted program, issuing a priority to current trends in international trade and education.