HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding Celebrates Apprentice Graduates


PASCAGOULA, Miss.,  — HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division hosted their apprentice graduation today, celebrating 99 graduates during a ceremony at the shipyard. Each of these apprentice graduates have invested time in the classroom and shipyard to prepare them for a shipbuilding career with the company.

Kari Wilkinson, president of Ingalls Shipbuilding, addressed the graduates providing words of encouragement for these new first-class shipbuilders.

“Each of our graduates has a role to play and an important job to get done on behalf of millions of Americans,” Wilkinson said. “Together they form an elite and special team to do the work of the nation.”

Enrollment for the apprentice program is competitive, and students work full-time while learning a craft through classes and on-the-job training. The prestigious workforce development program has produced more than 4,000 graduates since its inception in 1952 and currently has 700 students enrolled in the program, the highest enrollment since prior to the pandemic.

Russel Sand Jr. received the 2023 Overall Apprentice of the Year Award, which recognizes the apprentice who has set a standard of excellence among their peers and has performed at the top of their class continuously.

Sand has been with the company for four years and is currently a transportation rigger. When asked where his motivation came from to complete the four-year program, Sand said, “My fellow rigging apprentices were some of the best motivators, we all encouraged each other as we went through classes and rotated through crafts.”

While in the apprentice program Sand learned about the various aspects of shipbuilding and gained a greater purpose for the work he does saying, “In a four-year span I have seen ships go from the keel to delivery, and it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Our purpose is to build some of the finest warships in the world, and I am proud of my decision to become an Ingalls shipbuilder.”

The apprentice program offers a comprehensive three- to four-year curriculum with 15 registered Department of Labor apprentice programs for students to pursue. Apprentices earn competitive wages and receive a comprehensive benefit package upon entering the program. This allows apprentices to receive an education, build work ethic, gain experience and develop into world-class journeymen of their crafts.
For more information about Ingalls Shipbuilding’s apprentice school visit https://hii.com/careers/ingalls-apprentice-school/.

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