BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Coast Convention Center hosted a career fair for skilled workers in the shipbuilding industry Saturday. Although, it wasn't for jobs at Ingalls or any other shipyard here on the Coast.
This one was for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) in Portsmouth, Virginia. The Norfolk Naval Shipyard was founded in 1767.
Until now, the federally run shipbuilder had yet to send its recruiting efforts past the borders of its hometown.
"Over the next couple of years our workload requires that our workforce grow," said Jeff Cunningham, deputy executive director.
Cunningham said the NNSY has hired 1,200 people in the past year alone. He's looking to make that number grow even more with this job fair.
Jobs are available in skill sets like mechanics, electricians, welders and many other positions.
Cunningham says it was a natural decision to bring his company's first recruiting trip to the Mississippi Coast.
"There's a shortage in the skill sets that we're looking for, and we understand that down here there are hardworking, good people that we would welcome to come to Norfolk to work," Cunningham said.
Potential employees included people who had worked in the shipbuilding industry before. Some people like Carlos Holloway were just looking for an opportunity.
"It's a good experience. If you have the experience you should try it. If you don't, it's something to think about," said Holloway.
Then there were those who had experience with the electrical side of shipbuilding.
Michael Davison used to work at Trinity Yachts in Gulfport with a company that serviced the ships' electrical components. Now, he's hoping to get his foot in the door with an entry-level position at Norfolk.
"Even if you don't have the experience, they have an apprenticeship program to get started in and work your way from the bottom," said Davison.
According to Cunningham, NNSY is one of four federally owned shipyards in the country.
To find out more about the job opportunities, please visit www.usajobs.gov