Students learn about careers on the river

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 26, 2015

FUTURES: U.S. Coast Guard MST 2 John Shannon speaks to Bradley Dwiggins, left, and other students from Porters Chapel Academy about the Coast Guard.

FUTURES: U.S. Coast Guard MST 2 John Shannon speaks to Bradley Dwiggins, left, and other students from Porters Chapel Academy about the Coast Guard.

The Motor Vessel Mississippi IV played host to 140 high school students from Vicksburg High School, Warren Central High School and Porters Chapel Academy Thursday as they learned about potential careers on the Mississippi River.

The job fair was part of a larger event, Who Works the Rivers, which was sponsored by the Magnolia Marine, Golding Barge Line and Smith River Towing.

In addition to the job fair, students were able to tour Ergon and the Lower Mississippi River Museum, said Lawran Richter, who works in the operations division U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District.

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“We have the RiverWorks Discovery program, and they have these events up and down the river each spring, Who Works the Rivers,” she said. “They organize it from Dubuque, Iowa, and we put it on.”

RiverWorks Discover’s mission is to education about commerce, culture and conservation of America’s Rivers. The second annual Who Works the River program is an awareness program for high school students. It is a national program of the National Rivers Hall of Fame in Iowa.

Richter said this is the second year the event has been held in Vicksburg.

“It’s to get the high school students informed about different jobs on the river since it’s right here where they live,” she said.

Yazoo River Towing, Magnolia Marine, Golding Barge Line, Seamen’s Church Institute, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vickburg District all taught students about careers they could have on the river right out of high school.

Vicksburg High School sophomore Shianne McGee said she didn’t realize how many opportunities there were to work on the river.

“I didn’t know that for major jobs like this you didn’t have to have a college degree,” she said.

McGee said she learned about the types of goods the boats move and how they are worked on.

Porters Chapel Academy freshman Bradley Dwiggins said he learned a lot about working on the river.

“The U.S. Coast Guard stays on the river and responds to calls,” he said. “Before I thought they were just out on the Ocean.”

Dwiggins said his eyes have definitely been opened to the types of careers available on the river.

Warren Central High School senior Benjamin Elmore said he learned a lot about Ergon.

“I learned they not only provide fuel, they provide groceries and cleaning supplies to the tugboat people,” he said. “I knew they were here, but I didn’t know what all they did.”

Elmore said it’s interesting learning how people live on the boats.

“It’s an opportunity not a lot of kids in Mississippi get to experience because they don’t live by the river,” he said. “I think it’s good for the teachers at these schools to show these students what there is out there for them.”