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S:US Helps SUNY Maritime College See Spike In Graduation Rate

S:US Helps SUNY Maritime College See Spike In Graduation Rate

SUNY Maritime College enlisted S:US’ Veterans Services Department to help improve their Tugboat Mariner Initiative, and the collaborative effort has resulted in a 100% graduation rate this year, up 10% from the last year the program was held.

On December 19, all 12 students who entered the two-week program — Michael Collier (Marines), Rodney Forte (Navy), Tanya Guthrie (Navy), Christine Ivy Baker (Navy), Marco Laguna (Army), John Lang (Army), Matt Morin (CG), Jose Perez (Navy), David Powell (Navy), Willie Stevenson (Army), Gabriel Tolliver (Army) and Jeffery Vista (Army) — became certified as either ordinary seamen or able body seamen, depending upon their sea time.

The success of this year’s program can be credited, in part, to new strategies for selecting the class. “S:US helped look at the lessons learned from the last experience and rolled it into a better model where we as ‘the provider’ prescreened candidates for barriers to employment including mental health, physical health, military background, and criminal records,” said Brett Morash, Vice President of Veterans Services.  “The transportation industry in the post 9/11 world is heavily regulated by Homeland Security and the USCG, so we made sure that the candidates had clean records and were mentally ready for the rigors of a life at sea.”

During the challenging program, students completed a Basic Safety Training and participated in a  Ship Familiarity course that covered deck maintenance, line handling, practice in a tug boat simulator and a credential overview.

Various tugboat companies in the region have said they will hire each of the 12 graduates at competitive salaries, that start at $50K in the industry. The goal is 100% job placement by February. In addition, SUNY Maritime has made a policy that any student veteran who was vetted by S:US and will continue in the industry will be extended discounts for future continuing education opportunities.

Click here to see behind-the-scenes pictures from this year’s program, taken by veteran graduate Gabriel Toliver, who was a photojournalist in the Army. 

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