Students Explore River Careers At Paducah’s Who Works The Rivers

Roughly 180 juniors and seniors from six area high schools participated in RiverWorks Discovery’s Who Works The Rivers on September 13 in Paducah, Ky.

Students rotated among stations to explore skills such as line throwing, bumper building, trying on personal protective equipment and touring an Ingram Barge Company towboat.

Events were held at the main campus of West Kentucky Community & Technical College, WKCTC’s Marine Ways Training Center and Ingram’s Paducah facility.

Volunteers from several area river-related companies hosted the various stations, and the interactive presentations gave students a chance to meet and speak with mariners, captains, logistical leaders and others employed in river careers.

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Participating organizations included: American Commercial Barge Line; James Marine; Tennessee Valley Towing; McNational-Excell; Inland Waterways Museum; Marquette Transportation Company; Crounse Corporation; Ingram Barge Company; and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Each visiting student received a T-shirt with sponsors’ logos and a free lunch.

While the educational event has toured river towns across the nation since 2011, this was only its third visit to Paducah. The first was roughly a decade ago when an older version of the program served as a career fair for various companies. Since then, the program has been redesigned into a collaborative and interactive event designed to promote the industry as a whole.

The program also visited Paducah in 2022, attracting about 150 students from five high schools on that visit.

Caption for photo: Students received a briefing that included speaking with professional mariners and then visited with representatives from river-related businesses September 13 at outdoor stations on the West Kentucky Community & Technical College campus as they learned about safety, knot-tying, barge cargoes, underwater construction and preventing pollution, among other areas. (Photo by Shelley Byrne)