TECH program accelerates advancement from entry-level mariner to original third

American Maritime Officers, working collaboratively with the Seafarers International Union and the training divisions of the benefit plans of both unions, has launched The Engineering Candidate Hawsepipe (TECH) program, which provides an accelerated pathway for entry-level mariners to advance to original third assistant engineers.
The U.S. Coast Guard has approved the pilot training and assessment regimen encompassed by TECH and recruiting for the program’s first class has begun. STAR Center will be accepting applications for the first class through Sept. 27. Program details and an online application are available on the STAR Center website.
“The AMO/SIU TECH Program, which is designed to take high-performing high school graduates from entry level to third assistant engineer in under three years, will be convening the first class at Piney Point in January,” said STAR Center Director of Training Phil Shullo. "The application process requires applying to both SIU and STAR Center. The application and selection process timeframes are compressed for this first class. Applicants should begin the application process as soon as possible."
STAR Center is a division of the AMO Safety & Education Plan, and is working with the Harry Lundberg School of Seamanship’s Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education in Piney Point, Md. in the training and assessment of TECH program candidates.
While the TECH program pilot has been approved by the Coast Guard, no guarantees have been made that follow-on classes will be approved. The first phase of the application process, which must be completed by Sept. 27, will require two applications be submitted - one to STAR Center and one to the Harry Lundberg School of Seamanship.
The program is designed to take qualified and motivated high school graduates from unlicensed apprentice to third assistant engineer, with an STCW endorsement, through approximately 30 months of classroom, laboratory and shipboard training.
Costs to candidates are minimal, and cover medical exams, required credentials, passports, uniforms and other incidental expenses. There are no tuition or room-and-board fees, and all transportation costs incurred during the program are covered, provided the candidate agrees to complete the program and sail as a licensed engineer and member of AMO upon completion.
“We developed this program to assist in building the next generation of marine engineers for the U.S. merchant marine - a rewarding trade that is always and increasingly in demand,” said AMO National Vice President for Government Relations Mike Murphy. "Combined with our union’s ongoing recruiting at the maritime academies and AMO’s new incentive program for maritime academy cadets, we expect TECH will serve as a valuable asset in ensuring the manpower needs of the U.S.-flag fleet will be met for years to come

I like everything about this except the requirement to sail with AMO. I hope some organization that is NOT accelerating the race to the bottom on wages will develop a similar program. … the concept is awesome. …