California college launches certificate program in aquaculture
The health of our planet and the future economy will both depend on the resilience of our oceans. To address this urgency, students at Santa Monica College (SMC) will have the opportunity to explore aquaculture and work with some of the leading companies and scientists in the field. These groundbreaking collaborations will usher in a new era of workforce development in the blue economy.
Aquaculture is an increasingly important source of safe, nutritious and sustainable seafood for people around the world. Globally, aquaculture production must double by 2030 to keep pace with demand. These increases in demand for aquaculture products, food security considerations and job creation have generated an increased need for skilled workers.
Find out how you can be part of this growing industry.
A multi-year grant from Builders Initiative and community project funding from U.S. Senator Alex Padilla will enable SMC to fund curriculum development and provide faculty support for its innovative new Aquaculture Certificate Program. The new career path, designed to meet the needs of the growing aquaculture industry, will include a series of courses and materials covering marine biology; phycology; seawater chemistry; aquaculture; hatchery techniques; design of living systems and an internship.
“I am proud to have secured funding that will provide LA students with STEM learning experiences in the emerging blue economy – a vital and growing sector of California’s 21st century economy,” said Senator Alex. Padilla in an announcement earlier this year. “This program will provide students from underserved communities with a pathway to well-paying jobs that tackle climate change and our most pressing challenges.”
As part of the program, SMC is partnering with AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, a sprawling 35-acre nonprofit center dedicated to accelerating scientific collaboration and advancing the blue economy through business innovation and job creation. Shaping fair pathways for workforce training and job placement, the partnership will encourage students to work alongside the world’s top marine scientists as they conduct groundbreaking research and discover solutions in areas such as as energy supply, climate change and global food security.
“According to the Institute of Applied Economics at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), conservative estimates indicate that the value of the blue economy will double over the next decade, with a projected global value of $3 trillion. dollars by 2030,” the SMC superintendent said. and President Kathryn E Jeffery, PhD. “That’s an impressive number, and we want to position our students for the first opportunities that exist in one of the fastest growing industries in the world.”
As the industry grows, it will need trained workers with the specific skills and knowledge to get started. This expertise will allow the industry to evolve rapidly and meet many needs such as providing healthy and local proteins; restore habitats; sequestering carbon and providing raw inputs for many culinary, industrial and pharmaceutical products.
“To save our oceans and shift to a more sustainable global food system, the world needs a rising tide of curiosity, ingenuity and stewardship, and the classroom is where it all begins. We are excited to see how students at Santa Monica College are responding to this call,” said Jelani Odlum, senior associate program manager at Builders Initiative. “We know the next generation of ocean advocates, business leaders, and experts will emerge from cross-disciplinary efforts like this, in spaces where students are not just educated but activated.”
This new relationship between SMC and AltaSea will create myriad benefits not only for students, but also for growing businesses in the blue economy.
All students will be placed in an internship, with the aim of connecting them to employment in their field of study. Meanwhile, blue economy businesses will benefit from a direct pipeline to a well-educated workforce.
The long-term vision of the program is to create post-secondary certificate and diploma programs that span blue economy industries and fields of study. In turn, The Builders Initiative believes this will expand on-demand programs throughout the Los Angeles area in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Consortium of Community Colleges.