Latest News

Marine Industry Partners Commit to Renew Storefront

The Marine Industry Storefront exists to educate the younger generation about the multitude of career opportunities in the maritime community

Coconut Creek, FL – August 30, 2022- In response to the workforce crisis being faced by marine industry employers, a group of local companies came together to educate young people about the variety of meaningful, good-paying jobs across the industry. The “Sea the World” storefront at Junior Achievement’s educational facility, JA World Huizenga Center at the Lillian S. Wells Pavilion, opened originally in 2019. Since then, almost 80,000 8th-grade students have experienced this interactive, simulated space that allows them to learn about career pathways across the marine industry.

We are proud to announce that the group of companies involved has grown and the storefront sponsorship has been renewed for three additional school years.  This renewal initiative was led by Christine Battles, and Sea The World Spear header, and Megan Lagasse, Marine Director at Pier Sixty-Six.

“The maritime community faces an aging workforce, with skilled labor being very hard to find. In an industry where skill sets and specialized career tracks are vital to its prosperity, it is important to expose young people early on to the various career pathways within the industry,” said Christine Battles. “It was quite a challenge to bring the industry and environment alive on the walls of the storefront, but when you visit you will see how we showcased shipyard trade workers, engine room specialists, yachting professionals, and other career specialties like marina management, training, boat building and more.”

Junior Achievement of South Florida provides programs both in classrooms and at JA World that bring real-world experiential education around work readiness skills, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy to almost 70,000 students each year. The JA Finance Park program is focused on providing career exploration and pathway opportunities across industries. It is also focused on personal finance education for every 8th grader in Broward County Public Schools where students learn to manage the income they earn.

One of the 8th grade JA Finance Park students shared, “This program helped me to see what it feels like to be an adult. I never knew I could do what I like which is cooking and being a chef on a yacht or a ship!  And I would make a lot of money! Thank you marine industry for showing me there are other jobs I never knew about.”

“JA is thrilled and grateful the marine industry is represented in JA Finance Park. Students are rarely exposed to the opportunities in this booming South Florida industry and this program is designed to make students aware of the high-wage career pathways. This storefront is a great example of industry leaders coming together to educate and influence future employees,” said Laurie Sallarulo, President & CEO, Junior Achievement of South Florida.

JA Sea The World storefront partners donated financially to support the program for three years and design and build out the space with exciting and engaging elements. Partners include: Advanced Mechanical Enterprises, Inc./, AERE Docking Solutions, Cliff Berry, Inc., Elite Marine A/C, King Ocean Services, Global Marine Travel, IGY Marinas, Marine Industries Association of South Florida/MIASF, MarineMax, Inc., Maritime Professional Training/MPT, OneWater Yacht Group, Palmdale Oil Company, Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina, Roscioli Yachting Center, RPM Diesel Engine Co., Safe Harbor Marinas, Seabulk Tankers (Seacor), Thomas Marine Systems, Universal Marine Center, Wards Marine Electric, Water Taxi Fort Lauderdale, Wright Maritime Group. In-kind partners providing web hosting (, promotional advertising (The Triton), branding, and graphic design (Good Label Co.) to raise more awareness about “Sea the World”.

There’s still a lot more to be done in the maritime industry across the nation, but we’re grateful that JA Sea the World can continue to be a steppingstone in bridging the maritime workforce gap in Florida. A BIG thanks to the businesses, associations, and individuals who made this possible!

Hear What JA Sea the World Partners Have to Say

“From what we’re experiencing as a nation, now more than ever, our cause is crucial in gearing up our next generation of maritime professionals. It’s exciting to see the progress we have made so far with the Marine Industry Storefront and its impact on the students,” said Christine Battles, CAO, Advanced Mechanical Enterprises, “Our industry is a gold mine of opportunities for the next generation. I’ve made a personal commitment to inspire their interest in our field to keep the maritime industry as a thriving economic force in the state. Our JA storefront is a major step toward fulfilling this initiative.”

“For more than 60 years, Pier Sixty-Six has been an iconic waterfront destination in Fort Lauderdale and we are honored to be part of the Junior Achievement Marine Storefront. The Marine Industry is a vital economic engine for our community, and it’s our responsibility to protect our position as the yachting capital of the world. We look forward to sharing the many exciting job opportunities with the children who travel through Junior Achievement.” -Megan Lagasse, Marine Director, Pier Sixty-Six Marina

“Maritime Professional Training remains dedicated to improving lives through education. The JA Marine Industry storefront is an important initiative for the entire community, providing insight, opportunity, and promise to the leaders of tomorrow…… enabling them to “Sea the World” as a better place.” -Lisa Morley, Executive Vice President, Maritime Professional Training/MPT

“The success of Seacor Island Lines’ future is founded on good people. Our dynamic environment coupled with the diversity of our employees makes Seacor Island Lines an exciting place to build a successful career.” -Charles Gittens, President, Seacor Island Lines

“Safe Harbor Lauderdale Marine Center is pleased to partner with JA and the Sea the World exhibit to illustrate and showcase our industry’s opportunities in a unique way to help educate and attract future talent into our booming industry.” -Tim Sargent, COO International – Safe Harbor Marinas

“Introducing middle school students to a booming local industry assists in the long-term success of our community. AERE is a family-owned company and our son will be looking for qualified employees as he takes over operations.” –Vicki Abernathy, Chief Operating Officer, AERE Marine Group

“The Junior Achievement Marine Industry Storefront is going to make an enormous positive impact to 50,000 kids per year in South Florida by showing them the vast and unique opportunities that exist within the Marine Industry.   In the long run, our business Elite Marine A/C and other businesses alike will have more prospects to fill more and more job opportunities. The Junior Achievement Marine Industry Storefront is a huge win-win for both the community and the Marine Industry.” -Benjamin Koppenhoefer, President, Elite Marine A/C

“MarineMax is proud to partner with Junior Achievement on this wonderful project. Educating the next generation is extremely important no matter the industry. But we all share a love for the water, and it’s exciting to share opportunities in the marine field with up-and-coming generations.” – Chuck Cashman, MarineMax Chief Revenue Officer

“The Water Taxi is proud to partner with the JA Marine Industry Storefront and educate generations to come about this field. The marine industry is essential to Fort Lauderdale’s economy and lifestyle, and this storefront will help strengthen that for the future.” -Bill Walker, Owner of the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi

“The Marine Industry is one of the largest industries here in South Florida and it takes a huge amount of people and resources to sustain it. Palmdale Oil Company is thrilled to support the Marine Industry thru Junior Achievement. We are excited to show the children who visit the center all the different opportunities that exist within the Marine Industry, opportunities that exist right in their own backyards.” – Mallory Cheatham, Palmdale Oil

“Our goal, as a founding member of Sea the World, was to create another way to reach the future technicians, managers and supporters of our industry. The Marine Industry Storefront clearly identifies the myriad of opportunities that exist in the Maritime sector, as sea-going crew members or shore-based support staff. We look forward to seeing the storefront exhibit grow and continue to provide students with options and opportunities to succeed in our dynamic and exciting industry.” – James Brewer, Managing Director. Roscioli Yachting Center

“We are excited to be a part of the effort to help future generations thrive in an industry that has been a part of our family for two generations. Full speed ahead! “John C. Thomas, President, Thomas Marine Systems Inc.


About Junior Achievement of South Florida

Junior Achievement of South Florida (JA) empowers our youth with the knowledge, ability and confidence to navigate their futures, drive our economy, and lead our community. JA provides real-world training in financial literacy including budgeting, spending, investing and the use of credit; offers cutting-edge skill-building opportunities that enable young people to explore meaningful, productive careers; teaches students how to start businesses; and introduces entrepreneurial values that strengthen workplaces. Last year, with the help of 7,100 trained corporate and community volunteers, JA delivered 20+ programs to over 69,000 students in classrooms throughout Broward and south Palm Beach counties and at JA World Huizenga Center at the Lillian S. Wells Pavilion, a first-class facility housing JA BizTown and JA Finance Park. For more information about Junior Achievement of South Florida, visit Follow JA on social media @jasouthflorida.

For More Information, Contact:
Christopher Miller, Senior Marketing and Media Production Manager
Junior Achievement of South Florida
(954) 979-7110

Marine Industry Partners Commit to Renew Storefront

Related Posts