JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Plans are in place to expand an apprenticeship program at Ingalls. The first year of Shipbuilder Academy for high school seniors at Ingalls is coming to a close.
Moss Point High School junior Alysia Rester listens intently as representatives from Ingalls explain the benefits of participating in the Shipbuilder Academy.
"I'm excited to get started with it. I feel I would have an interest here working," Alysia said.
Alysia said she's taking a class at school that prepared her well for tonight, and she plans to enroll in the academy next year.
"I already experienced things like this in engineering class, working with electronics and boards, so I feel like I can connect to what they're saying," Alysia said.
Igniting students' interest is exactly what the folks at Ingalls had in mind.
"The question of advanced manufacturing and shipbuilding is, 'Where are the young people?' Programs like this recruit, encourage, and give an opportunity for young people to know about shipbuilding and for builders and to interact with them," Ingalls Manager of Resource Development for Training Mark Scott said.
"I'm showing them how to hook up a basic circuit," said Ingalls representative Jay Taylor.
This open house comes as the first class at the academy is graduating. Alex Fuller said attending the academy for the past year was the best opportunity he's ever taken.
"It's the best feeling in the world. We've got the best Navy, and the best ships are built here. To be a part of it, it's the best feeling ever," said Fuller.
Twenty-two students from six Jackson County high schools participated in the one-year pilot program, with 13 of those receiving job offers from Ingalls, as long as they obtain their high school degree.
The program offers some tuition reimbursement and college credits from MGCCC.
Next year, the Shipbuilder Academy will expand to Ocean Springs High School and Alma Bryant High School in Mobile, AL.