Northrop Grumman shows students there's a future close to home

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX)- Students from five local high schools gathered at Northrop Grumman Friday to learn the basics of a variety of careers, but it wasnt' an average field trip. Their teachers were Northrop Grumman employees.

"I think it gives them an idea of different job opportunities that are close to home here, of the high tech activities that are in Jackson County," said Jason Farmer, an electrical engineer at the shipyard.

The shipyard offers 2700 different job titles, but many students didn't know about most of them. They learned it takes expertise from many different fields to build a modern ship. That means that builders, engineers, lawyers, and business people all could have a future right here in South Mississippi.

"It's important because we are trying to grow local talent, so we can utilize them in the shipyard," said Brian McVey, a chemical engineer who works in the environmental department.

McVey is from Ocean Springs.  He lived away from home ten years because he didn't know he could have a career in South Mississippi.  He hopes to use career day to show young people they don't have to leave home to pursue their career goals.

"That's a message that didnt' get to me, that I'd like to get out to high school students now, so that we can get them back right when they get out of college," McVey said.

Some students were surprised at all the job opportunities at the shipyard.

"I learned a whole lot of things that I didn't know were here," said Pascagoula High School Junior Dylan Barsley.  "I didn't know they had divers or anything like that."

His classmate Ebony Davis agreed.

"I was like scared to come out here and stuff, but I think I'd like to come out here and work," Davis said.

And that's exactly what career day is about.

"We're looking at the future ship builders of America here," said Northgrop Grumman Gulf Coast Vice President and General Manager Irwin Edenzon.  "It's important for us to not only have an opportunity to meet the future generation of shipbuilders, but also to give them all the information they need so that they'll know how to prepare to come to work here. And also give them an opportunity to think about what kind of jobs they may want to consider when they are dedicing what they are going to do after high school."

Pascagoula, Gautier, St. Martin, Resurrection and East Central High Schools all participated in the event.  This career day was the third for Northrop Grumman Gulf Coast.