$385,314 Workforce Training Grant to Strengthen Greater Philadelphia’s Port Facilities
(Delaware and Chester Counties, PA • November 17, 2016)—The state has awarded a $385,314 grant that will be used to strengthen Greater Philadelphia’s port facilities in transportation, logistics and warehousing. Led by maritime owners, operators, trade associations and unions, a Collegiate Consortium comprised of five community colleges and Drexel University has created a program that will use the grant to train new and existing port workers in the five county region.
This Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry grant comes at a time when maritime leaders, buoyed by six years of port growth, are poised to capitalize on new opportunities and increased cargo volumes at the Delaware River ports due to infrastructure and other significant improvements. These positive changes promise to give the region’s ports a greater competitive advantage in the international trade market.
"The Collegiate Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development is the perfect vehicle for offering the kind of job-specific, skills training necessary for the region’s ports to capitalize on what promises to be a bright future," said Dr. Jerry Parker, Collegiate Consortium chair and Delaware County Community College president.
The new training program is titled, "Pennsylvania’s Gateway to the World: Transportation, Logistics, and Warehousing Training Programs Serving the Areas of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority and Delaware River Port Authority."
Among the infrastructure investments, trade opportunities, improvements and other factors that have, and will, impact the region’s ports are the following:
River Deepening – the ongoing deepening of the Delaware River from 40 feet to 45 feet will permit larger ships, more shipping lines and increased cargo deliveries. This project is 80 percent complete.
Panama Canal Expansion – will provide alternatives to current train and truck transport, reducing the cost of transporting goods to the East Coast consumer market. New “Panamax” mid-sized cargo ships, which fit through the larger set of Panama Canal lock chambers, carry nearly twice as many cargo containers.
Air Draft – the region’s ports enjoy greater “air draft” than found beneath the Bayonne Bridge at the nearby port of New York/New Jersey, enabling better bridge clearances of high-stacked vessels. Air draft is the distance between the water level and the highest point on a vessel.
Shorter Turnaround Times – Port of Philadelphia’s Local 1291 of the International Longshoremen’s Association has 19 daily start times vs. five in New York. ILA Local 1291 also is committed to having shorter turnaround times.
Port Expansion – construction of the Southport Marine Terminal Complex in Philadelphia and the conversion/expansion of the Port of Paulsboro Marine Terminal in New Jersey will expand regional port capacity.
The Pennsylvania Gateway to the World training program is based on regional demand and aligned with state priorities. Program design, application and implementation is led by subject matter experts representative of the owners, operators, trade associations and labor force of Greater Philadelphia’s maritime industry.
The Collegiate Consortium is a 22-year-old, non-profit organization consisting of four Pennsylvania community colleges (Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia), as well as Camden County College in New Jersey and Drexel University. The Consortium combines the efforts of the community colleges, which emphasize advanced technical training, and a university, which offers advanced education, creating a unique model for training.
For more information, contact Delaware County Community College’s Karen Kozachyn, Dean of Workforce Development and Community Education, 610-359-5362, or Susan Shisler Rapp, Director of Grants Management, 610-359-5040.