If you knew that if you attended a certain university that you would have a 94 percent job-placement rate when you graduated, would you go? What if you had to wear uniforms and adhere to pretty strict guidelines, but still had that high job placement rating? A lot of people would say yes right off the bat. However, when they learn about the strict guidelines and rigorous coursework they may change their minds. Well, for California Maritime Academy students on the west coast they took the rigorous coursework and uniforms for near-guaranteed jobs upon graduation.
One of the only school of its kind on the west coast, California Maritime Academy is considered a floating university. If you haven’t heard that term before, with a floating university students attend classes in a classroom, but also get hands-on training in their field outside of the classroom. For students of the Academy, that hands-on experience is gathered on a training vessel called the Golden Bear. They go on a two-month trip to the Panama Canal, Central America and the Caribbean. It sounds like a dream, but it’s not a vacation cruise. It’s a training cruise where students put the skills they learned in the classroom to use.
Sounds easy enough, but California Maritime Academy is not like most universities. The students wear uniforms and must discipline themselves to stay in line. Andrew Di Tucci, a student at the university, was quoted saying, “The school, it is not like your normal college experience would be. We are a paramilitary school. We have uniforms. We have formations. Just disciplining yourself to show up and keep grooming standards and be where you need to be, sit down, buckle your belt and study.” They adhere to such strict guidelines because they are training for positions in international business &logistics, marine engineering technology, global studies & maritime affairs, marine transportation, mechanical engineering, and facilities engineering technology.
If you are going to be working in these industries, you need to be on point and fully disciplined for anything. A teacher at the Academy, Bill Schmid, says, “ship’s officers are kind of like your surgeons or your airplane pilot. You do not want them to be right only 70 percent of the time. We pretty much have to be right all the time. That is a hard thing to teach young people. There is zero tolerance for mistakes.” That explains the rigorous course-work and strict guidelines, don’t you think? A med student training to be a surgeon adheres to a disciplined schedule as well.
It’s perhaps this rigorous, strict schedule that makes most college-hopefuls steer clear. Even with such a high job placement rating, the Academy has only about 900 students currently enrolled. Wouldn’t you think that the high job placement would rack in the applications, though? “I would say the majority of our students have between one to two job offers before they graduate,” said Robert Jackson, another instructor at the Academy. “Most of those job offers are between $60,000 and $120,000 [a year]. Our students have such a broad knowledge they can go anywhere.”
That would be just about enough for me to drop the average college and run to the Academy. However, a life at sea isn’t these easiest thing and these students are fully focused and interested in what they want to do. Rigorous coursework or not, with such a high job-placement rating in a time where our job market is nearly lifeless, young adults need to ask themselves what they are willing to do in order to secure a life and a job for themselves.
What do you think? Do you think you’d be able to adhere to this kind of coursework and discipline if it meant you were guaranteed a high paying job at the end? Let me know what you think in the comments or tweet me @nicole_spark.
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