Huntington Ingalls Industries hosted a recent graduation ceremony for the company’s apprenticeship program at Ingalls Shipbuilding. Nine different crafts were represented among the 159 graduates of the 2019 class.
Mississippi Speaker of the House, Philip Gunn, delivered the keynote address. “The prosperity of Mississippi begins with people like you,” he said. “The careers for which you are now prepared are the backbone of America. Over 60 percent of the jobs in America are held by people like you who make up a skilled and educated workforce. So, when I say the work you do is the backbone of America, I am not exaggerating. It is the truth.”
Since 1952, Ingalls’ Apprentice School has produced more than 4,000 graduates trained to fulfill the shipyard’s operational needs. Housed at the Haley Reeves Barbour Maritime Training Academy, the program offers a comprehensive two-, three- and four-year curricula, in partnership with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, for students interested in shipbuilding careers.
“We’re here to celebrate your completion of the company’s apprenticeship program. I am honored to say it is one of the country’s best,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. “As I look out across this room, I couldn’t be more encouraged on what our future holds. I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of you and of what you have accomplished. Today, you take the next step in building a future for yourselves and your loved ones. You have a great future, and we are excited that you are part of this great shipbuilding team.”
More than 60 faculty and staff members deliver 15 programs and more than 120 course offerings to apprentices to gain not only the skills, knowledge and pride of workmanship, but also the educational foundation and personal qualities needed to fully meet the challenges of a shipbuilding career. Today more than 1,800 apprentice alumni fill approximately 50 different types of jobs at Ingalls, many in craft, with 850 alumni going on to management and professional roles throughout the shipyard.