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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Maritime Workforce Development

As the maritime transportation field continues to evolve, the industry faces ongoing challenges, including rehabilitating an aging infrastructure, keeping pace with technology, adapting to broad organizational changes, and meeting the growing demands of a global economy amid enhanced national security threats. To respond to these developments successfully requires a diverse, multidisciplinary, and well-trained workforce.

Over the past 10 years, however, the maritime sector have seen a steady decline in personnel due to myriad factors, including retirements, career changes, and hiring and funding challenges. As a result, an inordinate amount of institutional knowledge has disappeared from Federal, State, and local maritime transportation departments, and within the private sector. Workforce development, therefore, has become a hot topic and critical need to attract and retain talented employees.

MARAD partners with the Military, Government, and the private maritime industry sector to address the challenges of a diminishing workforce through initiatives such as the Military to Mariner Program, Student Incentive Payments (SIP) for Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) cadets, SIP career services support, Fellow and Internship Programs, and Industry engagement. 

Career Services Support

MARAD provides career related services to USMMA and SIP cadets in an effort to further support fulfillment of their service obligation. Career services are offered as an additional resource to each academy's career advisors and is subject to annual funding. For further information please contact your respective academy or MARAD.


Currently, Graduates from USMMA and the State Maritime Academies proudly serve in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, the NOAA, and USPHS Corps. This is an excellent way to fulfill your service obligations while contributing directly to our Nation's security. In addition, graduates are encouraged to reach out to maritime stakeholders such as associations, unions and private industry.  

American Maritime Officers Marine Firemen’s Union Offshore Marine Services Association, Inc. The Workboat Academy 
American Waterways Operators Masters, Mates, and Pilots    Passenger Vessel Association U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Lake Carriers Association Military Sealift Command    Sailors Union of the Pacific  
Marine Engineers Beneficial Association National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Seafarers International Union  

Note: References to any companies or organizations herein are not to be construed as an endorsement of any product, service, or position by the United States government, the Maritime Administration, or employees thereof. MARAD’s role in promoting a robust United States merchant marine does not imply that the government approves of the work product of any organization or considers any organization’s work product to be superior to other products or services.

Fellow & Internships

MARAD supports workforce development by promoting the various opportunities that are available through the U.S Department of Transportation's Fellowship and Internship programs. These programs are typically advertised throughout the year on USAJOBS.

MARAD Mariner Workforce Strategic Plan 2023-2027

MARAD completed and published its Mariner Workforce Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2023-2027 in accordance with the requirements outlined in the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This strategic plan outlines MARAD's aims for the next five years to address issues with mariner recruitment, training, and retention; the plan also addresses demonstration and research priorities concerning these issues.