The money will support start-up costs for the first four years of the school and allow the school to grow to 400 students by 2025.
Saltchuk companies Foss Maritime, TOTE, and NorthStar Energy have together pledged $500,000 to support the launch and ongoing sustainability of Maritime High School, an innovative, project-based learning school within the Highline Public School District. In addition, Saltchuk company co-founder Mike Garvey pledged an additional $50,000.
Maritime High School opened its doors this fall to a class of 35 students. The money will support start-up costs for the first four years of the school and allow the school to grow to 400 students by 2025. Graduates will be equally prepared to enter the maritime workforce or continue their education at a two or four-year college.
“It is critical that we begin to pivot our attention, as an industry, to developing the next generation of workers,” said Jason Childs, President & CEO of Saltchuk Marine. “For me as a leader, I’m a strong believer that education and awareness are key to young people creating their futures. I’m from Minnesota. I didn’t even see the ocean until I was 16 or 17. We have kids here who have never been out on the water, who don’t understand how crucial logistics are to our country and our economy—especially here on the West Coast. Maritime is core. It’s our hope that students develop a passion for maritime and an understanding of the excellent career opportunities that are available at Saltchuk Marine companies and in the maritime industry.”
Saltchuk’s strong endorsement of the high school mirrors its belief that exposure and education work to address workforce shortages, the aging population of the workforce, and increasing overall diversity in maritime, as its sister school, Highline’s Aviation High School, works to address similar challenges in the aviation industry.
“I think that today, many students are given a binary choice: go to college and have a successful career, or don’t go to college and be a failure—that’s a false choice,” Childs said. “There are a variety of jobs that don’t require a college degree that pay six figures. So, it’s exciting to show students a path to an exciting life out on the water that also pays well, a career path you can work your way up, and where there are a lot of opportunities for people who don’t necessarily view themselves as lifelong students.”
And those students are thriving, explained Jake Beattie, executive director at the Northwest Maritime Center.
“Beyond the powerful education, support from pillars of the industry like Saltchuk and Lake Union Drydock Company are bellwether signs to the current and future students—and families—of Maritime High School that their learning is seen and valued by the industry waiting to welcome them as they graduate.”
“Saltchuk as a company really values people,” Childs concluded. “We’re investing in the next generation of employees. Whether they want to work for us or other employers, we’re excited to support kids who want to excel in this industry.”
Maritime High School, a public school for students with maritime interests, is currently accepting applications from incoming ninth and tenth graders for the 2022-23 school year. While the school is located within the Highline Public School District, admission is open to all students in Washington State. Additional information about Maritime High School, including details on how to apply, can be found here.