Huntington Ingalls, the largest U.S. military shipbuilder, graduated 184 apprentices on Saturday at its Apprentice School in Newport News, Va.
Rear Adm. Mat Winter, the U.S. Navy’s deputy program executive officer for the F-35 Lightning II, reminded the company’s newest shipbuilders during his commencement address that their work makes a difference in keeping the nation safe. “The fact is that those sailors and Marines are out on the pointy end, and they are there because of you, and because of what you’ve done and what you are going to do,” he said
Eighty-eight apprentices completed an optional advanced program, which includes coursework in subjects such as marine design, production planning, modeling and simulation, and marine engineering—culminating with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
Of the 184 graduates, 13 are military veterans or are currently serving in the Armed Services as reservists and guardsmen.
The Apprentice School accepts about 225 apprentices per year. The school offers four- to eight-year, tuition-free apprenticeships in 19 trades, and eight optional advanced programs.
Apprentices work a 40-hour week and are paid for all work, including time spent in academic classes. Through partnerships with Thomas Nelson Community College, Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University, the school’s academic program provides the opportunity to earn associate degrees in business administration, engineering and engineering technology, and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering.