Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division hosted a ceremony on Saturday for 123 graduates of its apprentice program. The class of 2017 graduates represent several classes of shipyard trades.
“You are each a vital member of the Ingalls Shipbuilding team that builds the most complex warships the world has ever known,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias told the graduates. “When you applied for this program, you were choosing to start down a path to becoming an Ingalls leader. As graduate apprentices, your bright future is full of tremendous opportunities both in shipbuilding and in life.”
Since 1952, Ingalls’ Apprentice School has produced nearly 5,000 graduates trained to fulfill the shipyard’s operational needs. The program offers a comprehensive two- to four-year curriculum, in partnership with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, for students interested in shipbuilding careers.
Rear Adm. William Galinis, the U.S. Navy’s program executive officer, ships, was the keynote speaker. “The Navy will soon look to Ingalls Shipbuilding—to you—to restore the USS Fitzgerald and return her to service,” he said. “We will rely on you, on your team, your skill, your ingenuity and your work ethic to rebuild this warship and quickly return her to the fleet. What you will do will matter, and it will make a real difference. You are all part of a phenomenal team who designs and builds ships for our Navy, turning steel plate into the most capable warships in the world. These ships truly come to life because of the commitment and work that you put in every day.”
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 1,600 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.