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Construction progressing for San Jacinto College’s new Maritime Training Center at port

The 45,000-square-foot facility will prepare new mariners and serve as local training site.

The 45,000-square-foot facility will prepare new mariners and serve as local training site.

PASADENA, Texas – A recent groundbreaking of the Maritime Training Center was held to mark the beginning stages of construction of the future home of all maritime training at San Jacinto College.

At the site of 3700 Old Highway 146 in La Porte, one can see the view of concrete piers that will support the 45,000-square-foot San Jacinto College Maritime Training Center.

San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer explained how the rapid growth of the College’s maritime program over the course of four years has brought the program to this point of expansion.

“When we began envisioning what we wanted to see for our maritime training program, we knew we had to build a world-class facility,” said Dr. Hellyer. Since 2010, the College has awarded approximately 3,200 U.S. Coast Guard-required certifications and developed the state’s first associate degree maritime transportation program. In 2012, the College purchased 13 acres of land along the Port of Houston to begin the process of building the Maritime Training Center.

“We looked at a lot of different locations along the water, and we kept coming back to this property,” added Dr. Hellyer. “The Maritime Training Center was developed based on industry input and leadership, and will allow us to put in place the training areas that are required to make this program a success now and in the long term.”

Maritime employment remains strong in Texas, as the state leads the nation in export tonnage and imports. Well over 1 million jobs are related to marine cargo activity at the Port of Houston and private terminals, according to a report by the Port of Houston Authority. Issues such as an aging workforce and expansion of the Panama Canal also drive the need to train and prepare more mariners for the industry.

The San Jacinto College Maritime Training Center, set for completion in approximately one year, will provide certificate, associate degree, and incumbent worker maritime training, and will include U.S. Coast Guard-required and approved deck and engineering coursework to prepare mariners for work commercial vessels, from deckhand on an inland towboat to captain of an oil tanker.

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Congressman Green hosts senior town hall meeting

Congressman Gene Green hosted the annual Senior Town Hall, and addressed with audience with updates on legislation affecting them. Government officials, seated, also answered questions.

Congressman Gene Green hosted the annual Senior Town Hall, and addressed with audience with updates on legislation affecting them. Government officials, seated, also answered questions.

Congressman Gene Green, representing the Texas District 29, was busy last week, hosting a Senior Town Hall Meeting for his district on Thursday morning at the Northeast Community Center, and a Health Fair at M.O. Campbell Center on Saturday.

At the Senior Town Hall, Green was accompanied by government officials that answered questions and presented new information in their respective fields. These included Andy Hardwick, Social Security Administration; Paula Johnson, HC Area Agency on Aging; and Michael Coulter, Medicare Outreach Centers.

Green had some good news for Social Security benefits, that they have been extended by Congress to 2030 for Medicare, and 2033 for Social Security.

He also said that the Part D drug “donut hole” will be reduced over the next 10 years. He reminded attendees that full Social Security benefits are available after the age of 66 yrs.

In Social Security news, Hardwick noted that they now figure life span at 85 yrs. It is possible to establish and maintain your account online, avoiding waiting rooms at the Social Security office.
Johnson said that the Area Agency on Aging runs many programs for seniors, including Meals on Wheels, legal assistance, daycare center (for adults), health maintenance programs, home repair, nonemergency transportation, and fall-prevention surveys and construction.

Coulter reminded the audience that the annual enrollment period for Medicare was ending on February 15. He urged seniors to sign up for a Medicare Advantage program, and get a “wellness” exam free every year. He said that if you are on Medicare, you do not need to sign up for ACA (Obama Care).

Green spoke about veterans programs and help from his office. Anyone can contact him at 713-999-5879 or 713-330-0761 for assistance with VA or other problems.