SIU Joins Outreach to U.S. Military Veterans

 

July 2014

 

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The SIU and its affiliated school in southern Maryland contributed to the success of a recent event in Jacksonville, Fla., aimed at helping U.S. military veterans find work.

 

A collaborative effort titled “Military to Maritime,” the June 4 gathering at the Jaxport Cruise Terminal attracted hundreds of veterans along with representatives from the SIU and other maritime unions, Seafarers-contracted companies, government agencies, trade associations and many other organizations. Most of the event happened indoors, but it also offered tours of the SIU-crewed Crowley tug Defender nearby.

 

SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker, Assistant Vice President Contracts Archie Ware, Port Agent Mike Russo and Director of Manpower Bart Rogers participated in the job fair, organized by the coalition American Maritime Partnership (AMP, to which the SIU is affiliated) and Seafarers-contracted Crowley Maritime.

 

AMP suggested that the convergence of military veterans and the maritime industry in the Sunshine State carries great potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 720,000 servicemen and women are still out of work since finishing their respective tours of duty in the military. Florida, meanwhile, “has an especially vibrant maritime industry and ranks second among all states in domestic maritime jobs, according to a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for the Transportation Institute,” AMP reported. “Supported by the Jones Act, which ensures vessels operating in our domestic waterways are U.S.-built, U.S.-crewed and U.S.-owned, the state’s 52,140 domestic maritime jobs pump more than $9.6 billion annually into the Florida economy, and maritime worker income in the state totals more than $2.9 billion.”

 

A day before the Military to Maritime meeting, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) described Florida’s maritime industry as “a national leader in economic opportunity and job creation, and it plays a critical part in our nation’s infrastructure. Not only does this vibrant industry provide good-paying jobs across various sectors in Florida, it also represents a natural fit for our veterans looking for a second career after they have dutifully served our country. I am thankful that the industry is working to support our veterans, and I encourage our heroes who have returned home to take advantage of this unique opportunity.”

 

U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) stated, “Jacksonville and Florida’s high ranking for U.S. domestic maritime job growth is no surprise to me. I am a longtime supporter of the Jones Act, which has protected 52,140 maritime jobs in the state and 9,670 in my district. Northeast Florida and the state can look forward to even more employment and economic growth with U.S. House authorization of legislation to deepen the St. Johns River and fix the navigational hazard at Mile Point. A deeper river means that large cargo container ships will be able to move freely in and out of the region, bringing more trade, jobs, and economic growth. The future for this sector of our economy is bright and only getting brighter.”

 

Across the nation, the domestic maritime industry includes approximately 40,000 vessels, which support almost 500,000 jobs, and have an annual economic impact of nearly $100 billion according to the Transportation Institute’s findings. The industry also accounts for approximately $29 billion in wages and $10 billion in tax revenues.

 

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