Pandemic clouds job outlook for new maritime academy grads
Professional Mariner|September 2020
Pandemic clouds job outlook for new maritime academy grads
A degree from a maritime academy usually spares one from the pain of checking job websites throughout a day, hoping a suitable position has popped up since they last hit refresh.
Nick Keppler

Maritime schools have rosy job placement numbers. SUNY Maritime College boasts a near 100 percent placement rate within 90 days of graduation. California State University Maritime Academy and Massachusetts Maritime Academy both launch nearly 90 percent of their grads into jobs within six months, according to audited surveys done within the schools. Employers often scoop up students through internships and job fairs before they even graduate.

But for the class of 2020, already reeling from an upended final semester, COVID-19 has clogged the once-steadfast school-to-job pipeline. Maritime employers are slow to hire as they face operations interruptions, an uncertain economic forecast and the risk of outbreaks on ships. Seafaring natural gas jobs have stalled particularly as demand for petroleum has declined. This has left many recent graduates in the lurch.

Stephanie Robbins, 24, who graduated from Massachusetts Maritime in June, checks LinkedIn every morning. “Everything says three to five years’ experience,” she said with frustration. “People are not looking for college experience.”

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September 2020