Northrop Grumman teaches Jackson Co. students how to build ships

By Patrice Clark- bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Students from across Jackson County put down their textbooks Friday to get a hands on lesson about shipbuilding.  Northrop Grumman sponsored a career fair to showcase different job opportunities at the shipyard in Pascagoula.

Gabriel Grace said he didn't want to attend Northrop Grumman's career fair Friday because he thought it was going to be boring.  But after seeing what shipyard had to offer, the Moss Point student was happy he came to the event.

"They put a lot of thoughts in my head. I wasn't thinking about coming to shipyard, worrying, but it seems pretty promising for my future," Moss Point Junior Grace said.

Dozens of craftsmen, engineers, and executives met with students like Grace.  The young people learned the benefits of building ships to defend our country and how to use cool gadgets.  The young people were also impressed with the diversity at the shipyard.

"Men and women have the same equal opportunities, and it doesn't matter about your skin color," a Moss Point student said.

"It is a vital part of the local community.  We are largest industry around, and we provide jobs for about 12,000 people here on this site.

Trade Specialist Gary Mercer promoted the company's apprenticeship training program as a way for students to jump start their career in shipbuilding.

"We give them time on the job and experience with first class craftsmen," Mercer said about the program.  "The money for a first year apprentice is comparable to a lot of four year degrees."

Human Recourses Vice President Edmond Hughes said he wants students to know they don't have to leave Mississippi to have a long and successful career.

"This year we have hired over four thousand individuals. I doubt if there many companies in the area that are hiring that many individuals, so shipbuilding is a stable industry."

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