RENO, Nev. � The American Radio Association has launched an effort to broaden its base and address the shortage of technical personnel in the world of skilled shipboard communications and electronics officers.�
According to Kelly Anderson, this labor shortage is �possibly due to a lack of awareness of this interesting career path,� even as the need for skilled electronics technicians and engineers aboard ships has been growing.�
Anderson is president of The ARA, which is the labor union representing communications and electronics officers for commercial shipping companies and government contractors who own/operate U.S. ocean-going vessels. In addition to maintaining shipboard electronics, radio electronics officers have jurisdiction of computer systems, entertainment systems and cryptographic systems on some vessels.�
The ARA is recruiting candidates who:�
- possess the ability and flexibility to learn new systems
- read and interpret technical manuals and schematics
- troubleshoot and repair equipment
- have good communications skills and
- must have a desire to work on board ships for up to six months annually.
�In the early days, the industry only needed radio operators skilled in Morse Code who could get messages to and from the mainland. It�s quite different today,� Anderson said. �Now, Radio and Electronics Officers are at the forefront of maintenance and repair of modern communications, navigation, and automation electronics aboard the newest U.S. flag ships, all over the world.�
The ARA is a member of the AFL/CIO and is also an affiliate of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The ARA emphasizes wages, benefits and worker protections as membership benefits.