Maritime Jobs
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US Navy Expands Shipyard Talent Pipeline in Southern California

May 1, 2024

Photo courtesy of Courtney Culpepper

Photo courtesy of Courtney Culpepper

The U.S. Navy's Submarine Industrial Base (SIB) program launched the Southern California Talent Pipeline Program in Newport Beach, Calif., April 26. The program will engage hundreds of shipbuilding and ship sustainment suppliers across the region to create maritime-focused manufacturing pipelines that revitalize the defense workforce by addressing critical skill gaps.

"The strength of the talent pipeline is as vital as any capability of a submarine," said Program Executive Officer Undersea Warfare Systems Rear Adm. Todd Weeks and executive sponsor, Southern California Talent Pipeline Project.  "The skilled tradespeople we need, whether welders, machinists, electricians, and more are the structural foundation that will allow us to build and maintain the world's most advanced submarines.”

According to Weeks, over the next 10 years, the SIB will need more than 140,000 skilled employees to build and sustain the Navy’s submarine fleet.

The Navy and the nation’s submarine industrial base are supporting the largest submarine recapitalization effort in nearly 50 years, driving a significant increase in demand across the industrial base. This launch – part of a continued effort to strengthen and expand the nation’s defense workforce – brought together partners from industry, academia, and leaders from the local community to create and sustain a talent pipeline that enables employers to re-capitalize their workforce through recruiting, hiring, training and retention.

"As we launch this vital Training Pipeline here in Southern California, it's important to remember the Submarine Industrial Base isn't a robotic factory,” said Weeks. “When we talk about the SIB, we're talking about the workforce. It is the people who are constructing the most advanced submarines in the world and initiatives like these are an investment in the growing workforce, in security, and in stability.

The Southern California launch aims to mirror prior Talent Pipeline Program (TPPs) in maritime centers of gravity in Philadelphia; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Hampton Roads, Va.; Long Island, N.Y.; and Boston.

The SIB Program's TPPs have already proved successful in other parts of the country. Since the first one launched in Pennsylvania in 2021, the five TPPs have supported over 300 small and medium maritime suppliers and facilitated the employment of more than 2,700 individuals. Across the 2023-2024 academic year, the target includes more than 400 companies hiring approximately 3,500 individuals as part of these six TPPs.

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