Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Halter Marine held an Apprenticeship Orientation Session on September 1 at Halter Marine in Pascagoula. Fifty shipbuilding apprentices began the program, with 10 in each of five programs that include electrical, welding, pipe welding, shipfitting and pipefitting.
With the exception of pipe welding, each of the Apprenticeship programs is four years in length and consists of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 576 classroom hours. Pipe welding is three years, with 6,000 hours of on-the-job-training and 432 classroom hours.
The apprentices are following Maritime Technology curriculum approved by the Mississippi Community College Board. The curriculum comprises 10 – 12 classes in support of their craft, plus management/leadership classes. The classes are being taught as noncredit, workforce classes, but the apprentices will have the opportunity to convert their noncredit classes into credit through competency-based exams (CBE).
The apprenticeship program is a new workforce-training model for Halter Marine to ensure consistent high-quality shipbuilders, enabling Halter Marine to successfully pursue federal shipbuilding contracts.
“Halter plans to begin new Cohorts of Registered Apprentices each fall for several years,” said Gayle Brown, MGCCC grants and special projects developer. “Additionally, six other crafts have been approved by the Department of Labor for Halter to apprentice, so when Halter is ready, the college will stand up those programs as well.”
Brown said Gulf Coast is already working with other companies to provide apprenticeship programs.
“Keesler Federal Credit Union started their third cohort of Branch Manager Apprentices this fall with nine,” she said. “F.E.B. Distributing has plans for additional Commercial Truck Driving apprentices in the future.”