Maritime Industry career paths 

Experience Maritime Project (EMP): A hands-on introduction to careers and pathways in the maritime industry

Supported careers and pathways in the maritime industry.

Principal Investigator

Sarah Scherer, Seattle Central Community College

Co-Principal Investigators

Craig Bailey, Sam Simone, Thomas Ruszala, Coral Ledford and Joe Schmitt, Seattle Central Community College

Frederic Stahr, Ocean Inquiry Project


Washington Sea Grant supported the Experience Maritime Project (EMP), an initiative of the Seattle Maritime Academy, to provide maritime training to high school and adult learners. The program increased the visibility of maritime work and helps provide young people—in particular, ones who otherwise would have difficulty accessing maritime training—a route into the industry. In 2018, the academy hosted seven week-long EMP sessions, each of which included classroom sessions and hands-on maritime experiences.

Research Updates


Washington’s maritime sector contributes about $38 billion annually to the state’s economy. However, with only 35 percent of the maritime workforce now between the ages of 16 and 39, the future of the sector could be in jeopardy. New pipelines into careers in maritime fields are needed to bolster the workforce.

Results Thus Far 

One hundred seven people participated in EMP programs during 2018. This included 40 Alaskan Native high school students who traveled to Seattle from remote villages as part of the Ciuneq (“a path forward” in Yup’ik) program of the Coastal Villages Region Fund. The EMP course curriculum included lessons on sea safety and survival, ship engineering systems, marine science and career exploration. Many EMP students reported that the program opened their eyes to the maritime field and how it connects to their everyday life. Several students even said they are now seriously considering pursuing maritime careers. The impact that the experience had on these students will hopefully ripple out to their friends and family.