IMX Inland Marine Expo

IMX Session To Focus On Workforce Development, Gen Z

The Inland Marine Expo (IMX), May 23–25 in St. Louis, Mo., will feature an education session titled “Workforce Development and Company Culture” that will look at the labor challenge facing the maritime industry.

Business leaders from just about every industry are saying the same thing: Recruiting and retaining employees tougher than ever. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has made workforce development more difficult, the challenges won’t end with the pandemic.

Over the next decade, the maritime industry will see a huge number of mariners retire. At the same time, the industry is facing a significant age gap and labor shortage. What’s more, potential employees from “Gen Z,” people in their late teens and early 20s, often have different priorities, values and expectations than older generations. The question is this: How can maritime companies adapt to attract and retain the next generation of mariners and shoreside staff as older employees look toward retirement?

The session will feature Kevin O’Neill, vice president of regional workforce training and economic development for West Kentucky Community & Technical College; Patrick Parsons, counsel and senior manager of government affairs for The American Waterways Operators; Joe White, director of American Equity Underwriters’ AEU LEAD program; Errin Howard, program director of RiverWorks Discovery; and the Rev. David Shirk, chaplain with The Seamen’s Church Institute.

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The panel will look at how company culture, diversity, total wellness and leadership development within an organization impact the strength, health and longevity of its workforce. The session will be held 9  to 10 a.m. May 25 at IMX. 

For more information on this panel and for IMX registration details, visit