More than 700,000 jobs across California are related to port operations in some way, including about 20% of the jobs in Long Beach. However, many people remain unaware of the career opportunities available at the Port of Long Beach.
The Port of Long Beach Maritime Center of Excellence at Long Beach City College, a new partnership between Long Beach City College and the Port of Long Beach, aims to change that by offering training and professional development in global logistics and supply chain management.
The Maritime Center’s first series of courses provided such instruction to 20 students either currently in a port-related career or looking to enter the industry. Students took a course in International Transportation and U.S. Customs Clearance Procedures taught by Dan Gardner, one of the country’s leading instructors in this field. The course was offered at a reduced rate thanks to generous contribution of the Port of Long Beach and the California Community Colleges’ Los Angeles Region Priority Sectors of Global Trade and Advanced Transportation and Logistics.
Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said the Maritime Center is an integral part of building awareness about the port and the economic opportunities it presents.
“Everyone has flown on an airplane, but you can’t say that about the port. People don’t visit or know what’s in the harbor district,” Cordero said. “The fluidity of global trade requires engagement and education. There is a tremendous opportunity for students to understand this area now.”
The Maritime Center’s training focuses on in-demand occupations like warehouse and distribution supervisor, logistics and supply chain specialist, order processor, shipping and receiving clerk, and scheduler and operations coordinator. Workers in these areas can take courses to advance within their respective field without committing to a two or four-year degree.
These versatile career pathways are an example of how non-academic training programs can both meet employer needs while preparing community members for careers in logistics and supply chain management.
Students pursuing degrees or certificates in other fields can also take Maritime Center courses to further enhance their education at LBCC or other California community colleges.
No matter which pathway students take to enroll in the Maritime Center, Cordero said the experience will help showcase the diversity that’s inherent to global trade.
“Southern California is very diverse and international trade touches on all of it … Asia, Europe, Latin America, and India,” Cordero said. “We should all be proud of the fact that ethnicity is very important, and students today can find relevance in this field because it is about the global community.”
The Maritime Center is already having an impact on students who take its courses. Student Blain Bailey currently works at a warehouse but is excited to pursue opportunities in international trade after taking one of the center’s courses on international shipment and customs.
“This class will help me better understand the roles that my colleagues at the warehouse have, and this class has also made me want to learn even more about international trade,” Bailey said.
Gardner develops course content for both online and in-person delivery, which meant he was able to adapt to changes that came as a result of COVID-19. He thought the course went well and enjoyed interacting with students in the virtual environment.
“You can always judge how well a course did by whether students come back and if they pay attention and ask questions,” Gardner said. “The feedback we have is anecdotal, but it’s positive.”
Ruth Amanuel, Regional Director for Global Trade in Los Angeles, took a course at the center as well — demonstrating that they’re relevant to people with all levels of experience.
“I learned a lot and am even more aware of the opportunity in Global Trade both for younger students and adults that are re-entering or changing careers,” Amanuel said.
Another student, Saad Shaikh, currently works in the food industry but is looking to transition into global trade. He sees the Maritime Center as an important step to getting there.
“This will help my career since I’m currently starting to work with container documents,” Shaikh said. “This class has tremendously helped me understand what each document means and the meaning behind everything that gets filled out.”
For more information about the Maritime Center, visit lbcc.edu/maritimecenter