Located on the peninsula, the Northwest Maritime Center (NWMC) is dedicated to educating people through maritime experiences, celebrating maritime culture, and supporting the maritime industry. With over 3,000 miles of shoreline in Washington, maritime life is a mainstay of both our state economy and local culture.
First Fed announced a donation of $1 million NWMC to support expanded access to maritime education. The funding will be spread evenly across 10 years.
“The maritime industry is vital to our region. First Fed is dedicated to helping the Northwest Maritime Center achieve its goal of doubling program participants by 2025,” stated Matt Deines, president and CEO of First Fed. NWMC served 2,950 program participants in 2019 and plans to reach 6,000 annually by 2025.
The maritime industry is the third largest economic driver in Washington with jobs that pay on average $82,800 per year. However, the industry is experiencing workforce gaps due to retiring mariners. A workforce shortage of 150,000 mariners is projected by 2025, as the sector continues to grow an average of 6.4 percent a year.
Programs offered by the NWMC strive to help fill that gap with hands-on and project-based learning centered on the environment, marine science, and maritime careers. Increasing participation in these programs will drive interest in maritime careers and promote industry sustainability.
“At our core, the Maritime Center is about connecting people to powerful opportunities on the water, whether they be for recreation, personal growth, or employment,” explained Jake Beattie, Executive Director for NWMC. “We also have an intentional focus on diversity in our programs to authentically represent the Pacific Northwest communities we serve.”
The NWMC is best known for the Wooden Boat Festival, the flagship event which inspired the organization to be founded in 1978, originally known as the Wooden Boat Foundation. Over the years, NWMC added education programs to offer vocational training through the Port Townsend Maritime Academy and Maritime High School in Des Moines, WA. According to Beattie, over 30 percent of students who attended Port Townsend Maritime Academy went on to either direct employment in the maritime industry or further maritime studies. The Maritime High School inaugural class will finish their first year later this spring.
“Northwest Maritime Center appreciates the significant support from First Fed, our local community bank on the peninsula,” shared Beattie. “Over the years, First Fed has demonstrated their commitment to maritime culture through sponsorships, volunteerism, and participation at our community events.”
“Our team at First Fed is happy to support the NWMC’s mission and maritime industry which is so important in the Pacific Northwest,” added Deines.
The Northwest Maritime Center offers a range of maritime classes where people of virtually any age group or experience level can find a program to enjoy. Sign up for their newsletters or learn more about the NWMC programs and events at their website at nwmaritime.org.