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  • Writer's pictureNate Gilman

Building a Strong Maritime Workforce to Support a Healthy Economy

Updated: Dec 3, 2022



Media Contact: Kristen Mattern (757) 828-5877

Building a Strong Maritime Workforce to Support a Healthy Economy: Community Program Connects Youth to Maritime

Story Highlights:

  • Washington Maritime Blue and the Youth Maritime Collaborative are community organizations committed to building a strong maritime workforce and industry in Washington state.

  • MM-SEAS hosted a Des Moines-native for an internship to help introduce her to the maritime industry.

Des Moines, Washington, September 10, 2021 -- For Des Moines-native Juana Angel-Ramos spending her summer vacation between high school and college interning with a maritime technology startup was something she never imagined doing.

When the opportunity presented itself with the Youth Maritime Collaborative, the Washington State University freshman took the chance to learn more about the industry. “The maritime industry can be intimidating but the best way to begin is to do the same as getting into the pool,” Angel-Ramos said. “You have to get in the water. I found the Washington State Maritime Blue Youth Maritime Accelerator Project as my way to get into the maritime industry.”

As part of the Washington State Maritime Blue Youth Maritime Accelerator Project,

Angel-Ramos was exposed to all facets of maritime by touring facilities and meeting industry professionals. She also received professional development coaching, and interned with MM-SEAS co-founder and president Nate Gilman.

As part of her internship, Angel-Ramos researched the maritime community online and helped create a podcast with Washington Maritime Blue Executive Director Josh Burger. “I had the great pleasure to be an intern at MM-SEAS which is the first software that automates the manual task of obtaining, tracking and renewing U.S. Coast Guard credentials. For two months I worked directly with Nate focusing on social media channels that were related to merchant mariners.”

Gilman was more than happy to bring a potential maritime industry worker into the fold, “As an Olympia native, and someone who grew up in the maritime industry on the Puget Sound, I care deeply about workforce development and fostering the health of the industry. From working as a deckhand on the Argosy Cruises to receiving my Master’s focus on marine microplastics in Puget Sound from The Evergreen State College, I understand how important the maritime industry is to the state’s economy and daily life for many Washingtonians.”

As far as the future, Angel-Ramos was left wanting more. “I’m highly interested in getting more information about the Naval Architects field of work. Being able to seek more information about a potential job that I would love to do is interesting.”

For Washington State, finding more individuals like Angel-Ramos is key to growing a healthy Blue Economy. The maritime industry is a driving force for the state. According to the Washington State Department of Commerce, “the sector contributes more than $21.4 billion in gross business income, and directly employs nearly 69,500 people. Including indirect and induced impacts, the sector is responsible for 146,000 jobs in the state and $30 billion in economic activity.” The Washington State Ferries have 21 ferries servicing the state, “that carry nearly 24 million people annually to 20 different ports of call.”

Gilman said, “Programs like Washington Maritime Blue and the Youth Maritime Collective create a much needed pipeline. They’re introducing the next generation to good paying jobs and also doing the work to help build an equitable and diverse maritime workforce. We need to be able to open the door to students like Juana who are smart and innovative, but might not have maritime in mind for a career.”


About Washington Maritime Blue: Washington Maritime Blue is a strategic alliance for maritime innovation and sustainability as an independent cluster organization to implement Washington State’s Strategy for the Blue Economy delivered by Governor Jay Inslee’s Maritime Innovation Advisory Council. As a partnership among industry, public sector, research and training institutions, and community organizations, its mission is to create a world-class, thriving, and sustainable maritime industry through knowledge sharing, collaborative research and development, commercialization, business and workforce development. Washington Maritime Blue is working to promote growth in the Blue Economy, champion maritime cleantech innovation, establish best practices, and identify and support enterprises that foster sustainable development by increasing living-wage jobs, promoting a healthy environment, and empowering resilient communities. Learn more at

About the Youth Maritime Collaborative: The Youth Maritime Collaborative (YMC), an informal organization made up of 12-14 maritime industry companies, educational institutions, nonprofits, community service providers, and public agencies, was established to help address the maritime industry’s need for workers. The goals of the TMC are to generate awareness of and interest in entering the maritime workforce. Find them online at

About MM-SEAS: MM-SEAS is a cloud-based software for Merchant Mariners that creates the perfect U.S. Coast Guard credentialing applications. Visit for more information.

About the MM-SEAS Software: MM-SEAS™ automates the manual task of obtaining, tracking and renewing USCG credentials. The software eliminates paperwork processing errors and delivers meaningful merchant mariner career guidance.

MM-SEAS™, available on desktop and mobile, is a flexible tool for mariners to store documents, track sea time and training, gain endorsement upgrade insights and apply for a merchant mariner credential.

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