The San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Training Center on the Maritime Campus
San Jacinto College marked the grand opening of the new Maritime Technology and Training Center on the Maritime Campus on March 8, 2016.
The Center is located next to a turning basin along the Port of Houston at 3700 Old Highway 146 in La Porte, Texas – the ideal location for students training to enter the maritime industry, and for current mariners upgrading their U.S. Coast Guard certifications. It sits 14 feet above ground and includes 45,000 square-feet of space on each of the upper and lower levels. It includes:
- A 3,748 square-foot suite for three full mission ship bridge simulators, donated by the Houston Pilots
- 15 classrooms
- Administrative suite
- Multipurpose room, dining area, and engineering simulators
- Aquatic training facility
- Stations for Global Maritime Distress and Safety System training, automatic radar plotting aid training, radar training, and liquid cargo handling training
- A separate industry dock for crew changes will be built in the near future in partnership with G&H Towing.
The Maritime Technology and Training Center was built with funds from the 2008 bond referendum, which voters in the district overwhelmingly approved by 71 percent. The land was purchased from the Port of Houston Authority. The official ground breaking ceremony took place in December 2014.
How it all started
Maritime training at San Jacinto College began in 2010 after discussions with Port of Houston Authority Commissioners and maritime industry leaders. It was discovered that the majority of local maritime companies were sending their crews out of state for their United States Coast Guard (USCG)-required courses because they did not have a local place for this type of training.
The invitation, the assistance
The College invited maritime industry leaders to discuss developing a training program specifically for their working mariners and to recruit more mariners into the industry, and unlike decades before, those with more training in the soft skills. In 2010, the College received the assistance it needed to jumpstart the maritime training program with a Texas Workforce Commission grant of $394,577, and a $400,000 federal appropriation championed by U.S. Congressman Gene Green, representing Texas’ 29th Congressional District. Maritime courses were offered at a facility along Highway 225 in Pasadena, Texas. Classes filled to capacity almost immediately, and the College responded by adding more courses, a radar lab, and the three full mission ship bridge simulators from the Houston Pilots.
Texas's first maritime associate degree, the region's training hub
In 2012, San Jacinto College introduced the state’s first, and only, associate degree for maritime transportation to address the maritime industry needs for more mariners with a college education. The College also began offering a program for those who wish to work in other areas of maritime by introducing an associate degree for cargo handling/logistics, transferable to the Texas Southern University maritime logistics program and the University of Houston College of Technology logistics program. An Introduction to Ships and Shipping courses was added to the College’s business administration associate degree, transferable to Texas A&M University in Galveston through an articulation agreement.