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SMC to Launch Groundbreaking Aquaculture Certificate Program

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By Lookout Staff

August 23, 2022 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) is launching an innovative Aquaculture Certificate program to prepare students for the rapidly growing "blue economy" centered on the world's oceans.

Funded with a multiyear grant from Builders Initiative and community project funding from U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, the program is expected to serve as a model for other community colleges across the State.

The program offers classroom instruction as well as hands-on experience through internships that lead to jobs in an industry that is expected to double in value over the next decade.

SMC Superintendent/President Kathryn E. Jeffery notes that the value of the blue economy is expected to double globally over the next decade, reaching $3 trillion by 2030.

“That is a staggering number, and we want to position our students for the first opportunities that exist in one of the world’s fastest growing business sectors,” Jeffery said.

“Southern California would emerge as a world leader in the blue economy, and we intend to make sure our students are ready to help innovative businesses do just that.”

The aquaculture industry fills needs that include "providing healthy, locally-sourced protein; restoring habitats; sequestering carbon, and providing raw inputs for many culinary, industrial, and pharmaceutical products," program officials said.

The funding will allow SMC to fund curriculum development and provide faculty support for course offerings in Marine Biology, Phycology, Seawater Chemistry, Aquaculture, Hatchery Techniques and Living System Design.

"To save our oceans and shift to a more sustainable global food system, the world needs a rising tide of curiosity, ingenuity, and stewardship, and the classroom is where this all begins," said Jelani Odlum, senior associate program officer at Builders Initiative.

“We know that the next generation of ocean advocates, business leaders, and experts will rise out of interdisciplinary efforts like this, in spaces where students aren’t just educated but activated," Odlum said.

"We’re thrilled to see how the students of Santa Monica College answer this call."

As part of the program, SMC is partnering with AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles in a relationship that will benefit both students and businesses in the rapidly growing industry, officials said.

The non-profit center, located on a sprawling 35-acre site is "devoted to accelerating scientific collaboration and advancing the blue economy through business innovation and job creation."

The partnership will "encourage students to work alongside the world’s finest marine scientists as they conduct breakthrough research and discover solutions in areas such as energy supply, climate change, and global food security."

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