NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) named Tidewater Community College (TCC) as a Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education.

This designation, announced via press release on Wednesday, recognizes community colleges and training institutions for their work in preparing learners for careers in the maritime industry.

TCC is now one of two institutions in Virginia to receive this designation, as well as one of only 27 across the country.

“TCC is committed to continuing the legacy of offering high-quality education and career training for the next generation of maritime professionals,” said TCC President Marcia Conston.

Originally authorized under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018, this program is aimed to assist the development of the maritime industry. A particular focus is on diversity and inclusion within the industry. 

“This designation gives us a seal of approval for the work we’re doing in providing quality training for those entering the maritime industry,” added Tamara Williams, TCC’s vice president of Workforce Solutions.

Congressman Rob Wittman (R-Westmoreland) released a statement Tuesday on the new designation.

“I am glad Tidewater Community College (TCC) received the designation as a Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education,” Wittman said. “TCC’s longstanding history of meeting the maritime workforce needs of the Southeastern Virginia region is unmatched and this designation is well deserved. The maritime industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia accounts for a substantial proportion of jobs and wages for Virginians and supports critical national priorities, particularly commerce and defense. While some maritime jobs may require applicants to attain a four-year degree, many of the opportunities in the maritime industry only require a two-year degree or credential from a community or technical college. Shipbuilding, ship repair, and other maritime careers require quality workers with skill sets often not offered by four-year colleges and universities.

“Tidewater Community College’s exemplary programs to prepare students to contribute to the industrial base well-positions Virginia to train a workforce capable of supporting a growing maritime industry.”