VICKSBURG – A career-building program on the Mississippi River has moved onto Hinds’ Vicksburg-Warren Campus to stay.
Specialized training to be tankermen on push boats that help move products up and down the river is filling a big need for skilled labor on the water. Completion allows deckhands on tank barges to move up to the job responsible for managing liquid cargo on the average barge tow and seeing it’s transferred safely to and from tank barges.
A Coast-Guard approved course first hosted on campus last year has received support from local industries to continue for the fall 2017 semester. Industry partners Golding Barge Line, Magnolia Marine Transport and Smith Towing Company have supplied rope, steel and other equipment for the class, which is being expanded with staff instruction. Previously, an outside service taught the course.
“We’ve taken on the class and are having it here on campus because it’s the only program of its kind in Mississippi,” Vicksburg-Warren Campus Dean Marvin Moak said. “It’s a unique opportunity.”
A classroom course, which covers basic terminology on flammable or combustible materials and sources of fuel for potential hazards, is followed by fire safety and other hands-on courses held outdoors on campus.
Earnings potential on the water drives the current wave of entrants to deckhand school, which trains for the industry’s entry-level position. In 2014, the college and Golding partnered on the deckhand training course when it was made possible by a federal workforce grant.
After students attain second-level experience handling and rigging lines, they can choose to train for tankerman positions that can pay double the annual salary of entry-level deckhands. Students are evaluated and certified accordingly at the completion of each of the training courses.
Six months of experience and supervised transfers by licensed tankermen are necessary before a trainee can become similarly certified. In addition to class lecture and fire safety, formal training also covers rules and regulations, transfer procedures and emergency response,
For information about enrolling in the deckhand or tankerman training program offered in Vicksburg through Hinds Community College, contact Marvin Moak, dean of Hinds’ Vicksburg-Warren Campus, at 601.629.6804.River barge training course at Hinds CC trains for top-dollar careers