Port of Philadelphia plans to open new training center in the new year

Paul Kurtz
December 05, 2018 - 4:48 pm
A typical cargo ship put to sea.

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Port of Philadelphia plans to open a Regional Maritime Training Center in Southwest Philadelphia early in the new year. 

This is a first-of-its kind initiative, as there's never been formal training for the tractor trailer drivers, forklift and crane operators at the port. 

PhilaPort and labor leaders hope to train about 200 current workers and new hires during the first year at the Centers' 61st Street and Essington Avenue location. Philadelphia Works, the nonprofit that links employers and job seekers, will oversee the operation, and president Pat Clancy says the goal is to create a pipeline of better qualified workers. 

"This new center enables the employers, the unions, to collectively have people get the right credentials to get the state of the art safety training that is so critically important. Moving those big boxes and how they move them, they're millions of tons," Clancy said. 

He also says formal training will make it easier for them to get high paying jobs. 

"For example, if you work down there and you take Kia cars off the ship, and you'll make $18-19 an hour to start," he said. 

The training center is a public-private project. Citizens Bank kicked in $100,000, and president Dan Fitzpatrick says it was an easy decision, given the boom times the port is enjoying.

"This was a situation where we knew from our commercial business that the port activity in Philadelphia is growing very strongly. Gov. Wolf is providing strong capital commitment to grow the port, as is Mayor Kenney," he said. 

The facility is scheduled to open in January.