(FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) OMSA President Ben Billings, Louisiana Veterans Secretary David LaCerte (USMC) and U.S. Maritime Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen (NAVY).
Hundreds of veterans attended a Military2Maritime career fair today sponsored by the American Maritime Partnership (AMP) and the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), and hosted by the International Workboat Show. The event is part of a national program to help connect the nation’s servicemen and women with jobs in the American maritime industry. Highlighting their support for American maritime’s efforts to hire veterans were U.S. Maritime Administrator Paul ‘Chip’ Jaenichen and Louisiana Secretary of Veterans Affairs David LaCerte. Previous Military2Maritime events have been held in Jacksonville, Fla. and Houston, Texas.
“Now, more than ever, our nation’s need for maritime services is increasing. That’s why we are particularly excited to welcome our veterans into the U.S. Merchant Marine workforce,” Maritime Administrator Jaenichen said. “Working as a part of this vital industry, American veterans can put their skills to good use and continue their contribution to the economic strength and security of our nation.”
“The maritime industry is a great fit for Louisiana veterans because of their unique service skills and knowledge,” said Louisiana Veterans Affairs Secretary LaCerte. “Veterans learn to work as a team, operate under a chain of command, and focus on getting complex and sometimes hazardous jobs done safely and effectively. This industry is critical to our region, which is why we are working so hard to connect Gulf Coast veterans with these exciting opportunities.”
Participants in the New Orleans Military2Maritime Career Fair met with recruiters from more than 45 American maritime organizations as well as maritime schools and shipyards. Veterans also had the chance to attend seminars on marine licensing and transition and visit with crewmembers and industry personnel who are veterans and made the transition to the maritime industry.
“Gulf Coast mariners are America’s lifeline to offshore energy. Roughly 20 percent of America’s domestic energy supply is produced offshore in the Gulf, and the oil and gas industry depends on the more than 2,000 specialized vessels in the U.S. fleet to carry out seismic research, transport and install production facilities, and continually supply them with personnel, commodities, fuel, and equipment,” said Ben Billings, President of OMSA. “Gulf Coast mariners keep America’s energy economy strong by powering transportation, manufacturing, and growth in the rest of the country.”
Louisiana moves more maritime cargo than any other state, due in large part to the Lower Mississippi River, which is home to the largest port complex in the world and connects 31 states through a critical 14,500-mile system of inland waterways. According to a recent study by the Transportation Institute, roughly one in five jobs in Louisiana is directly connected to the maritime industry, and the over 54,000 jobs in the state’s maritime industry pump more than $11 billion into the state’s economy every year.