Ports & Terminals

ITEP and Port of LA Partners expand California student education and training

The International Trade Education Programs (ITEP), a Southern California non-profit organization, connects California high school students with careers in the maritime, transportation and energy industries in collaboration with the Port of Los Angeles, Pasha Stevedoring, Tesoro, APM Terminals, BNSF Railway, ILWU, the Los Angeles Transportation Club, Metropolitan Stevedore Company, Franco Trucking, Yusen Logistics, Phillips 66, Ports America, Valero Energy, Los Angeles Community College District, Los Angeles Unified School District and many others . In an interview Amy Grat, ITEP’s chief executive officer told AJOT that one of many successful collaborations is with Ports America: “Ports America has had more than 10 employees working with high school students, helping them understand how a container terminal works. Ports America also sponsored a job shadow day where students could follow an employee at work and learn about what they do. This is important not just for seeing the technical side of the job, but also learning the soft skills about how you interact with your fellow employees and even how you dress. Ports America even provided paid internships for five students.” Grat noted that ITEP helped 25 high school students attend and graduate from the California Maritime Academy (CMA) at Vallejo, California. One CMA graduate now works at Long Beach Container Terminal at the Port of Long Beach and another at Transmarine Navigation at the Port of Stockton. She noted: “As the Port continues to grow, the jobs in the harbor are changing. ITEP industry volunteers and staff act as an informational conduit to the high schools to alert them as to where the future career demand will lie." Grat noted that “students attending high school in San Pedro were sometimes the children of longshore workers or their management supervisors so that both Port labor and management had a common interest in improving student education and training that ITEP was able to build on.” Hands on learning is also important: “We took students on a trip to the U.S. Coast Guard base at Terminal Island where students got to see a rescue helicopter and get an idea of the challenges Search and Rescue Coast Guard pilots face.” Grat noted that ITEP is now working with community colleges and is even planning to establish a program at an elementary school in San Pedro. ITEP was founded by Carol Rowen, a Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner in 1999. Rowen wanted to expand job training opportunities for high school students in the nearby cities of San Pedro and Wilmington at a time of expansion at the Port of Los Angeles. Rowen used her connections at the Port to bring maritime executives into the classrooms at Banning High School in Wilmington where ITEP helped double the graduation rate for high school students from 40% to 80% Subsequently, Rowen expanded ITEP training and education programs to San Pedro High School. In 2010, Grat, succeeded Rowen. Grat expanded on the number of high schools that ITEP supports in collaboration with maritime, transportation and energy industry partners as well as the Port of Los Angeles. In 2017, ITEP sponsored pathway programs at Southern California high schools that include:
  • Barstow High School Mojave Express Logistics Academy, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
  • Carson High School: Environmental Science, Engineering, and Technology, Global Business, Law, and Government
  • Downey High School
  • Gardena High School: Global Leadership Academy
  • Los Angeles River School
  • Manual Arts Senior High School: Business, Entrepreneurship, Service, and Technology
  • Narbonne High School: Business Entrepreneurship Technology Academy
  • Phineas Banning High School: Global Environmental Science Academy, Global Safety and Security Academy, International Trade Academy, Maritime, Agriculture, Tourism, Cuisine, and Hospitality, Pilot Academy of Technology and Health Science
  • Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math
  • San Pedro High School Business House, Global Environmental House
  • Theodore Roosevelt High School: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math
  • Warren High School
  • West Adams Preparatory High School Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
By 2016, Grat noted, noted that “ITEP placed 137 interns with 57 companies.” Previously, Grat served as vice president of Investor Relations for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. She received her MBA in 2008 from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
Stas Margaronis
Stas Margaronis


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