Photo By Brittany Lieberman / Viking - Cal State Long Beach and Port of Long Beach employee Mario Gonzalez co-shots a tour of the Port of Long Beach for Cal State and LBCC students Saturday, Oct.19.
Photo By Brittany Lieberman / Viking – Cal State Long Beach and Port of Long Beach employee Mario Gonzalez co-shots a tour of the Port of Long Beach for Cal State and LBCC students Saturday, Oct.19.

By Brittany Lieberman / Co-News Editor

To jump-start the beginning of the nine-week transportation and border security course at LBCC, a mix of LBCC and Cal State Long Beach students mingled over complimentary coffee atop a two-story cruise boat before participating in a free tour of the Port of Long Beach Saturday morning, Oct. 19.

The grant-funded course is part of the tuition-free homeland security administration program and trains students in “economic, political, humane, ethical and strategic issues faced while enforcing the security of our air, sea and land transportation networks across more than 17,000 miles of U.S. border,” according to the program’s website. More information about the program and Spring class schedule may be found by contacting the economic resource development program coordinator Carina Serrano at cserrano@lbcc.edu or by calling (562) 938-5052.

Chris Orpeza, a photography and homeland security major at LBCC, said, “The port tour was a great opportunity for my class and me to learn about how our city port works and what measures they take to keep a safe environment for our community.” The 90-minute tour was hosted by Port of Long Beach harbor tour employees and Cal State Long Beach alumni Mario Gonzalez and Rachel Hamer, who both majored in communications. Gonzalez said, “We offer three or four paid internships to communications majors per year. “We focus on public speaking, getting them in front of the microphone and educating the community about the ninth largest seaport complex in the world.” Gonzalez said the program attracts students engaged in journalism, engineering, environmental sciences, Internet technology and international communications. Cal State Long Beach student Dhanushka Edivisinghe, a marketing major, said he attended the tour to see how the port works firsthand.

“I’m taking an international marketing class right now and we’re learning about imports and exports. It’s my first time touring the port, it’s fun,” Edivisinghe said. The port has decreased pollution by 75 percent since 2005 and has a set goal to become the first zero-emissions port in the world, Gonzalez said. Hamer was an intern at the program before being hired part-time. “I really enjoy working at the port. I’m challenging myself in the area of communications while still having fun,” Hamer said. The tour is free from May to October. For more information about internships or employment, people may visit polb.com or contact Gonzalez at mario.gonzalez@polb.com.

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