Ingalls master shipbuilders pass on their knowledge to the next generation

Ingalls plans to hire around 2,000 full-time shipbuilders as part of its future growth plan.
At the Haley Barbour Maritime Training Academy, the next generation of shipbuilders are just starting off in their careers.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 3:10 PM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - At the Haley Barbour Maritime Training Academy, the next generation of shipbuilders are just starting off in their careers.

With a little luck, and a lot of effort, they could one day call themselves master shipbuilders, a title given to those with 40 years of experience on the yard working on all types of vessels. Donna Gardner is one of 27 master shipbuilders at Ingalls. She started her career back in 1982.

“When I started working at Ingalls I didn’t intend to stay that long. But I got our here, I loved it, I met a lot of great friends that became part of an extended family for me,” said Gardner, who is a third generation shipbuilder.

But it was the spark of a new career, not family history, that got Donna started at Ingalls. Now she’s passing on her knowledge to a new generation.

“Today I’m supporting the DDG program, LHA, LPD, ships that we build here at Ingalls. It’s wonderful to be able to communicate to the shipbuilders of tomorrow the experiences that I’ve had,” Gardner added. “I’ve had the opportunity to work on many ships.”

She and others hope in 40 years, some of the current students at the academy will be sharing their experiences with another generation.

“Our master shipbuilders are absolutely gold to us, and we appreciate all of their knowledge and their expertise that they bring to our workforce on a daily basis,” said Fatina Brave, who serves as the Talent Acquisition Director at Ingalls.

Those interested in joining the team at Ingalls can find out more at www.buildyourcareer.com.

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