San Jacinto College, recently named one of the top five community colleges in the nation, has served the greater Houston area since 1961. Aligned with the local maritime industry—one of the strongest in the Gulf Coast region—its maritime program saw rapid growth due to a shortage of qualified workers. The new Maritime Technology and Training Center was a direct response to industry demand, and reflects a true partnership between the College and Gulf Coast businesses who are looking for a local site to train skilled technicians. Drawing on its broad experience with higher education technical facilities, Salas O’Brien provided the project with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering.
The 45,000-square-foot venture included the creation of 15 classrooms as well as some extremely advanced engineering simulators. These simulators give maritime engineers real practice in how to handle all sorts of tasks.
Highlights of the center also include a training dock with lifeboats, davits, and fast rescue craft, as well as a separate industry dock for crew changes. All this also allows for vessel-specific training for local maritime companies and serves as an aquatic training facility for sea survival in life raft training, complete with men’s and women’s locker rooms.
Salas O’Brien is very proud to play a role in partnership and community-building projects such as this one. As with many industries, the maritime industry requires training and licensing even for entry-level positions. Community and technical colleges can offer this training on an affordable basis, and this new facility will fill that need. The center was awarded the Landmark Award (Educational Facility category) by the Houston Business Journal. It is a superb synthesis of educational and commercial interests, and will serve its students and the maritime community for many years to come.