With 15 ports, major shipbuilders, coastal tourism and substantial fisheries, Mississippi’s “blue economy” contributes billions of dollars to the state’s annual revenues. While these maritime industries dominate the state’s economy and support at least 35 percent of its entire workforce through “blue” jobs,
the sector is often overlooked as a source of economic development for the state.
Members of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) based at the John C. Stennis Space Center complex are working to change that by developing new programs aimed at training a workforce knowledgeable in the tools and technologies that are crucial for maritime operations and for gaining a better understanding of the oceanic and coastal environments in the Gulf of Mexico.
The programs and opportunities being developed by ocean experts Joe Swaykos, who is Chief Scientist of the NOAA National Data Buoy Center and Secretary of the GCOOS Board of Directors, and Dr. Monty Graham, a GCOOS member and Director of the University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) new School of Ocean Science and Technology, will help train new generations of experts in the operation of ocean-based robot systems and increase internship and employment opportunities for students and graduates.
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