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Recruiting Outreach—Building America's Workforce

Two men take a picture with mascots at a college fair
Jeff Atkins (middle left) and Senior Survey & Guidance Electronics Engineer Donnie Smith (middle right) at the University of Florida’s Career Fair in 2007.

Companies throughout the U.S. actively participate in recruiting and career outreach to build America’s workforce. Manson recognizes the importance of recruiting and career outreach as an opportunity to attract new talent and revitalize the dwindling workforce of the construction and maritime industry. At these events, Manson endeavors to give college and high school students a window into life into engineering, construction management, and the trades.

College Recruiting and Internships

Manson’s 2006 college recruiting class set a benchmark for the organization, with 75% of those new hires still working at Manson today. That season of recruiting in the Gulf & East Coast region gave rise to Manson’s active involvement with universities across the U.S., according to Vice President & Chief Engineer of Dredging Mike Warwick.

“In the Spring of 2006, several Manson personnel, including Senior Survey and Guidance Electronic Engineer Donnie Smith and I, collaborated to recruit talent at universities near Manson’s Jacksonville office,” Mike explains. “For example, Donnie would attend a career fair at the University of Florida. Then, I would show up the next day to help him conduct interviews and create a short list of potential interns and future engineers to join Manson.” With experience gained from attending career fairs and outreach events, Manson’s recruiting team would develop a plan to set the standard for Manson’s regional involvement with four-year universities.

Mike attributes the loyalty of Manson employees to the organization’s approach of selecting individuals who commonly share three characteristics: A fundamental curiosity about working on the water, a willingness to learn, and a propensity for teamwork. Seeking individuals who encompass these traits has laid the foundation for Manson’s recruiting efforts, especially for Dredging Engineering Manager Kyle Dickens, who now leads and helps organize Manson’s regional college recruiting efforts.

A man at a college fair
Dredging Engineering Manager Kyle Dickens leads and helps organize Manson’s regional college recruiting efforts. Photo credit:Kyle Dickens—Dredging Engineering Manager

“Manson recruiters do a great job at leaving no stones unturned when recruiting new talent,” Kyle says. “We look for genuine people interested in working on the water. In helping build the connection, I assign personnel to attend career fairs at their alma mater to show students that a career in marine construction and dredging is achievable.”

Manson recruiters engage with students majoring in construction and engineering programs to acquaint them with the company’s reputation of excellence, illuminating their potential career outlook if they choose Manson.

It is also not uncommon to see experienced Manson engineers and managers conducting guest lectures in university classrooms, and also participating in various department Industry Advisory Councils aimed at helping guide curriculum and educational standards of those programs.Manson offers young professionals the chance to work and learn from hundreds of skilled personnel in dynamic environments across North America.

“What separates Manson is that young engineers can build so many different types of projects,” says Project Engineer Brett Diener. “With Manson, engineers can play a part in building bridges, wharves, outfalls, and other marine structures. There are only a few companies in the construction industry where engineers can create these interesting and unique structures.”

High School Outreach and Internships

Career outreach can help clear the pathway forward for many high school students. At these grade levels, students are just beginning to decide about their future careers. Hearing about different options from companies like Manson can make a difference in what they choose to do or their approach to achieving their goals.

Manson’s five regional offices have participated in high school outreach events across North America, connecting all grade levels—freshman to senior students—to career options in the maritime industry. These events allow students to understand a niche industry with opportunities to learn about heavy civil marine construction and dredging through hands-on, project-based activities.

Four people at a career day event.

In Spring 2022, Manson’s Seattle yard hosted “Intro to Marine Construction Day” in partnership with Maritime High School (MHS) in Des Moines, WA. This presentation for MHS’ first group of ninth graders is intended to help them prepare for careers in the maritime industry. The class learned about several important topics, including job safety analysis, basic safety procedures, yard operations, and equipment knowledge. The group also spent time on the Derrick Barge 24 with its crew to learn about vessel operations and participated in a pick-and-lift scenario on the vessel.

According to Director of Learning & Development Thomas Barrett, interactions with a hands-on curriculum can spark interest for most students. “With the Intro to Marine Construction Day event, we wanted to give students a deck-level understanding of our work by building experiences that give them a feel for working at Manson,” Thomas explains. “We want to let students and school administrations know that a career in marine construction can be rewarding and intellectually challenging. Events like this allow schools to advocate for maritime career paths like they do for careers in information technology and health sciences.

Understanding the importance of high school outreach, Seattle Field Engineer Josh Rudd returned to his alma mater Sultan High School (SHS) in Sultan, WA, to meet with seniors for their annual career fair. Josh gave a presentation about Manson, helped students understand the company’s work and core values, and spread awareness of an exciting industry. “The biggest takeaway for these kids is that they receive exposure to the different trades and engineering positions they can pursue,” Josh says.

In Long Beach, Manson has partnered with EXP The Opportunity Engine —a non-profit organization that provides a career-based curriculum to local high schools in Southern California—to educate and prepare students through career exploration activities.

Collaborating with EXP personnel, Vice President and Southern California Area Manager George Atkinson and Project Manager Colin Oldham select candidates for a summer internship at Manson. The program not only assists students with building a plan for their future but also bridges the gap for individuals in underrepresented and marginalized communities.

“One of the most important factors of the program is that we are giving back to the Long Beach Harbor community,” George explains. “Many of these students come from first and second-generation immigrant families who find it difficult to access education and career opportunities after high school. Manson’s high school internship opportunity bridges the gap between our industry and similar students across the U.S.”

The interns gain experience working in Manson’s Long Beach office and yard. They learn about the essential roles of project staff, operations, administration, and craft personnel in day-to-day operations.

“A Manson internship exposes students to an active work environment while on site,” Colin says. “Not only do they learn about the different roles at Manson, but it also expands their outlook on life to what they can do after graduation.”

Six people in an office.
Members from the Long Beach office pose with Manson’s EXP Intern, Richard Cruz, to celebrate the completion of his six-week summer internship. Pictured left to right: Field Engineer William Luna; Project Manager Colin Oldham; Intern Richard Cruz; Victoria Portnall; Marissa Cotton, and Executive Assistant Karissa Poitras. PHOTO CREDIT | KARISSA POITRAS—EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

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