For Jacob Vasquez, working at the Port of Houston is a family tradition.
Jacob recalls his father, Johnny, who also works at the port visiting Shanghai, China years ago as an engineering inspector for the port’s Bayport crane purchase. Today Jacob is an apprentice STS (ship to shore) crane electrician. He works at the Port of Houston’s Barbours Cut Container Terminal. He works on the same type of massive STS cranes that impressed his father on the other side of the world more than 10 years ago.
Jacob began work at the port as an outside laborer in central maintenance. He eagerly applied for the port’s new apprenticeship program in November 2017. “Apprenticeship represents a fantastic career opportunity,” notes Jacob. “It provides valuable skills and mentoring will help me grow professionally.”
Since Jacob had already been taking classes at San Jacinto College it wasn’t difficult for him to tackle the apprentice program’s related technical instruction (RTI) courses. “I was pursuing my A.A.S. degree but didn’t have a specific field,” says Jacob. “I wanted to explore different career possibilities so I was taking a wide variety of classes. The apprenticeship program has helped focus me. Skilled tradesmen will always be needed so this is a good investment in my own future.”
Trish Baker, assistant manager of maintenance at the Barbours Cut Container Terminal and an apprentice manager, is a big champion of apprenticeship. “We started the program with four apprentices at our terminal and three more at the port’s Bayport Container Terminal,” she explains. “When the port leadership committed to starting the program, we were thrilled. It helps us bring in younger and newer workers and train them according to our standards. They contribute to our work from day 1, performing critical job functions that keep our port assets working at peak performance.”