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ODU Receives Federal Funding to Support Maritime Workforce Training in Hampton Roads_post

ODU Receives Federal Funding to Support Maritime Workforce Training in Hampton Roads

March 25, 2024

By Jonah Grinkewitz

Old Dominion University’s Virginia Digital Maritime Center (VDMC), a newly established entity to support the maritime industry in Hampton Roads, has received $643,000 in fiscal year 2023 Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) funds from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The federal investment, secured by Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine for the Maritime Skilled Trades Alignment Project (MSTAP), will play a crucial role in advancing the standardization of training and certification requirements across the public and private maritime industry in Hampton Roads.

“We are especially grateful for the commitment of Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine to strengthen the maritime workforce in Hampton Roads and the financial support to do that work through ODU,” said John Snell, senior program manager for maritime trades at the VDMC. “We would also like to thank the Department of Labor Community Projects Office, as well as all our community partners for their support and guidance in getting this project underway. This CDS funding will enable us to take significant steps toward improving the alignment of training and certification requirements, ultimately leading to enhanced career opportunities and competitiveness for individuals in or entering the maritime industry.”

MSTAP will examine the potential for unifying and streamlining training and certification standards within the maritime industry. By collaborating with key stakeholders, including employers, educational institutions and industry associations, MSTAP seeks to identify opportunities to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of maritime workforce development in the region.

This investment will provide funding for research and data analysis to identify areas where standardized training and certification in the maritime industry can be achieved without compromising safety or quality.

“This federal funding marks a significant milestone in the MSTAP project’s progress, and we are excited to embark on this transformative journey with the collaboration and support of our project partners,” Snell said.

The Virginia Digital Maritime Center (VDMC) is a merger of Old Dominion University’s Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem (MIBE) and Virginia Digital Ship Program (VDSP) and is supported by the Office of Enterprise Research and Innovation. VDMC’s mission is to support Virginia’s maritime enterprise by leveraging applied research and cutting-edge technology to advance the maritime workforce, foster collaborative partnerships and drive economic growth in the Hampton Roads region.

For more information, visit the Virginia Digital Maritime Center’s website.