PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - There was plenty of excitement Friday at Pascagoula High School as the ribbon was cut on the school’s new talent development labs.
The upgraded welding lab and machine shop were made possible through the school’s partnership with Ingalls Shipbuilding.
“To see where it was, even to have the before pictures, to see where it is now," said Brian Cuccias, Ingalls Shipbuilding president. “For the community to have a state of the art equipment and processes, there’s not many places in the country that really have a place like this, and it’s right in our backyard.”
The 3,150-square-foot welding lab and the 4,000-square-foot machine shop are simulations of what students will be doing in the industry with top of the line equipment.
“We’re looking very forward to having our kids come in, learn how to use the equipment that’s here, so it matches the industry standard, helps them become more employable right out of high school, and there’s a great demand for welders in our region," said Wayne Rodolfich, superintendent for Pascagoula-Gautier schools.
For Aderlin Soler, the new lab will be a huge benefit as he prepares for a career in welding.
“Before it was like darker, and there was much more stuff. Now it’s so clear, you can see, work easier and more safe,” he said.
Students will learn more than just trade skills. They’ll also learn life skills from Ingalls professionals, like discipline, getting to work on time, ethics -- skills to better prepare them for their next step in life, whatever it may be.
“It’s a game changer. It’s a smart investment. It makes the community stronger. It makes the workforce stronger, if they come to work at Ingalls or not, it just makes a stronger workforce, a healthier community. So I think it’s a win all around," Cuccias said.
Pascagoula High is one of three schools to partner with Ingalls, including Moss Point High. There are also plans to bring the talent development labs to Harrison County schools as well.