Port of Los Angeles Programs Now Benefit More Than 35,000
Students Annually

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – May 3, 2016 – As World Trade Week kicks off, the Port of Los Angeles announces a new educational milestone that is sure to pay dividends for years to come — more than 35,000 students per year now participate in Port-related education programs. Targeting students of all ages, these programs focus on promoting an understanding of ports, the maritime environment and the industries that facilitate goods movement and global trade, as well as providing resources and experiences that broaden students’ view of the Southern California region, international trade and their future career possibilities.
“What started as a few targeted programs years ago has now grown into a multi-faceted, long-term educational initiative,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “We are helping to teach the next generation about global trade, the critical role our port plays in the regional economy, and the variety of jobs and careers the LA trade gateway provides.  We’re very proud of the programs and partnerships we have forged with educators to engage local youth and even inspire port-related maritime careers.”

The Port’s many educational programs include:

Student Boat Tour Program – One of the most popular Port-sponsored activities, this free program is offered to fourth-grade through graduate-level students. With the working port as a backdrop, students see and learn firsthand about international commerce, port operations and cargo movement, and port environmental programs and security initiatives.

Think Watershed “Floating Lab” Field Trips – In partnership with the Think Earth Environmental Education Foundation, this program provides science-oriented, hands-on learning activities to fourth-grade through middle school students. The field trips include a boat tour, plankton lab, water visibility testing, bottom sediment study, fish morphology and wildlife observation.  Students learn how human behavior affects the quality of our water and air.  This summer, the Port of Los Angeles will partner with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Beyond the Bell to provide Think Watershed field trips for the LAUSD summer school program.

Last year, 10,870 students and faculty participated in the Student Boat Tour Program and Think Watershed Field Trips.

TransPORTer Mobile Exhibit - The 53-foot TransPORTer mobile exhibit brings the story of the Port of Los Angeles to the greater Southern California community, educating students and the public about the Port’s history and its valuable role as an economic engine and an environmental leader. The exhibit’s interactive features include a “Ship to Shore” simulation game, an interactive map of ship and goods movement and a “Sounds of the Port” listening center.  Last year, the TransPORTer visited 19 schools and events, reaching approximately 16,000 students.

Youth Leadership Conference – In February 2016, the Port sponsored its first youth leadership conference for students from Wilmington and San Pedro-area middle schools, and from Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor. The business-like conference included presentations and learning activities, a harbor boat tour, and breakout sessions to explore port careers in the areas of engineering, environmental science, maritime law enforcement and port pilot operations. More than 120 students participated.

Youth Education Grants & Sponsorships – Annual Port sponsorships and community grants support several high-profile youth educational programs. Since 1997, the Port has been a major sponsor of the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s TopSail Youth Program. Last year, nearly 3,500 fifth through twelfth grade students in the City of Los Angeles participated in this program.  The Port is also a major sponsor of International Trade Education Programs, Inc. (ITEP) which connects the international trade business community to the classroom to develop career-ready college-prepared high school students.  ITEP pathways in Wilmington, San Pedro, Carson, Barstow, Gardena and Los Angeles serve approximately 4,500 students.  The Port also supports Port of Los Angeles High School’s International Business & Maritime Studies Program: Career Technical Pathways, and provides a scholarship opportunity to graduating Port of Los Angeles high school students. 

International Economic Summit – Over the past two years, the Port has partnered with Boise State University to host an International Economic Summit as part of World Trade Week. Approximately 300 high school students participate in this one-day simulation event that focuses on the importance of global trade, alliances and investment. This year’s summit will be held in the fall.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor – Since 2002, the Port’s Liberty Hill Plaza facility has been home to one of three Boys & Girls Clubs in the LA Harbor. The Club has a gym, high school center, music education center and fine arts center utilized daily by 175 students from fourth to twelfth grade.  After school activities include an extensive College Bound program that provides academic support, coaching, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related studies and test preparation to help students successfully graduate and enroll in college and trade school programs. 

Engineering Week - Every year, port engineers also host local students for “Engineering Week,” where Port engineers go to Harbor area schools to present and inspire students about careers in engineering. In February, approximately 400 students at four schools participated.

STEM Funshop Events - For the past two years, the Port also hosted annual STEM community events, where roughly 1,500 students, parents and other guests had the opportunity to experience STEM-related port activities demonstrated by Port engineers, environmentalists, police and pilots.

Scout Program – The Port hosts local scout troops for an annual “Scout Day,” which includes a boat tour and a TransPORTer mobile exhibit visit. To qualify, troops must have visited two participating Harbor area educational facilities—such as Battleship IOWA, the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, the Banning Residence Museum, among others—and complete a short Port of LA quiz. More than 300 scouts have participated in this program.

VolunTEEN Program - Over the past several years, approximately 50 high school students per year earn community service hours for providing assistance at Port community events.

Internships – Each year, the Port employs college student workers, offers college summer internships and supports the ITEP high school summer internship program.  Currently, the Port employs more than 60 college student workers.  In addition, last summer the Port employed more than 70 college interns and nearly 20 ITEP high school summer interns.

For nearly 90 years, World Trade Week – (WTW) – an initiative of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce—has been the most extensive and unique program of its kind in the country. WTW dedicates itself to educating the public on the importance and benefits of global trade on the local and national economy through a series of educational programs and events. 

The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit Southern California’s economy and quality of life. As North America’s leading seaport in terms by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $290 billion in trade during 2014. Port operations and commerce facilitate more than 148,000 jobs (about one in 12) in the City of Los Angeles and 531,000 jobs (or one in 16) in the five-county Southern California region. The San Pedro Bay Ports support more than 1 million California jobs and 3.1 million nationwide.