The 200-foot Tall ShipSSVOliver Hazard Perry isbeginning a two-week journey to Florida via Charleston, S.C. that will serve as an internship at sea for six students from theMid-Atlantic Maritime Academy (MAMA) of Norfolk, Va.

The students recently completed a four-week MAMA “Mariner Boot Camp” training course designed to give them international credentials for securing an entry-level job on a ship. To graduate from their program, they must now finish at least 160 hours of hands-on experience at sea, a requirement that will be completely fulfilled during their time aboardPerry.

“MAMA’s Mariner Boot Camp program is recognized by Virginia’s local area workforce agencies, including Opportunity Inc.,” said Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island Executive Director Jess Wurzbacher.“Ninety percent of the students have received full funding through programs for adult and dislocated workers and youth facing barriers to entry into the workforce.”

For most of the students, according to MAMA’s Program Coordinator Caroline Smith, this trip aboard SSVOliver Hazard Perrywill be their first time at sea. “MAMA is working to bring these unemployed adults to a point where they are marketable candidates for entry into the commercial maritime workforce,” she said. “Practical experience at sea is a key component.” She noted that a MAMA student who sailed aboardPerrylast year has since been workingaround the world aboard commercial cargo vessels.

Wurzbacher said the atmosphere aboardPerrywill be immersive and focus on general maritime training, including solid entry-level deck skills, engine maintenance and engineering. “In many cases, the students will do the exact same things as our professional crew, and hopefully they will discover which path they want to take in the marine industry.”

Throughout the year, SSVOliver Hazard Perryis offering various open-enrollmentteenandadultprograms, the latter with options in April for participating in three TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Festivals with accompanying Tall Ships® races in Galveston, Pensacola and New Orleans. In late April, anadult voyage(ages 18+) from New Orleans to Annapolis will takePerryto the Mid-Atlantic wherein mid-May the Naval Academy Prep School Midshipmen candidates will board for the ship’s voyage to Philadelphia for another TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® event.

For program schedules and more information, visitwww.ohpri.orgor contactjess@ohpri.org,401-841-0080.For more information about MAMA, visithttp://marinerbootcamp.com/

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Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.