BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - This Saturday nearly 130 students will move their tassels from right to left, officially graduating from the Ingalls Apprentice Program.
It's a unique educational opportunity that allows workers the chance to earn a paycheck and draw benefits while getting the training they need to advance their careers. Apprentices can also earn college credit thanks to a partnership with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
"The apprentice program is the cornerstone of our workforce development. It's part of how we build individuals in our organization," said Ingalls Vice President of Human Resources and Administration, Edmond Hughes.
Hughes said completing the apprentice program is an achievement could potentially open a lot of doors.
"This is just a starting point for many of these individuals. They may stay on their tools and finish their craft. They may go on to other positions in our organization," said Hughes.
Just getting into the program is an achievement. In recent years, Ingalls has received thousands of applications for the few hundred apprentice spots.
"I've never worked at a place with this many people before, but it's really great," graduate Anthony Toliver said. "The hard work paid off."
Anthony Toliver is hoping his future includes an opportunity to help others.
"What I'm actually trying to do is help the apprentices of the future. I want to help their transition so they can get the sense of accomplishment that I've had over these years," said Toliver.
The graduation ceremony will take place Saturday at 10am at the Coast Coliseum Convention Center.
If you'd like to learn more about the Ingalls Apprentice School, visit: http://ingalls.huntingtoningalls.com/careers/ingalls-apprentice-school/