PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - More than 10,000 people work at Ingalls, and about 8,000 of them skilled laborers. They had to learn those skills somewhere, and that's where the company apprenticeship program comes in.
On any given day, hundreds of men and women are learning the skills they need to build ships. There's no chalkboard or paper in this classroom. Instead, you'll find a lot of noise and hard work as students learn about welding, pipefitting, and electricity.
"At the apprentice school, we build people. We build people that are going to have skill sets that will last the rest of their lives and gives them an opportunity to succeed and provide for their families and have a great career," explained John Lotshaw, the director of workforce training at the shipyard.
For some of the men and women in training, this is a stepping stone.
"I hope to go on and have my own management deal in the shipyard and after that move on up in the company and help other young kids like me through the apprenticeship program," said Dino Daniels who is currently in training.
While hundreds of these apprentices in training will soon be building ships for the U.S. Navy, they're also building a foundation for their future.
"I am currently in school right not and I'm pursuing two degrees and taking this on," said Nichole Young, a structural welder apprentice. "I feel as though I can grow in this company and I can set a foundation for my family as well as for myself here."
The sounds of success also lead to a feeling of pride and patriotism for electrical apprentice Regina Cunningham.
"It's a joy being that my father was in the Navy for 20 years so knowing that I'm a part of the tradition of military is a happiness knowing that I have brought something into it," said Cunningham.
During the next two years, officials at Ingalls plan on hiring about 3,000 more skilled workers. Many of those will graduate from the apprenticeship program.