Ingalls Shipbuilding graduates 110 apprentices into workforce
By Warren Kulo
BILOXI, Mississippi -- Ingalls Shipbuilding celebrated the 2018 graduates of its apprentice program with commencement exercises at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center Saturday.
U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith delivered the keynote address in front of the 110 graduates of the Class of 2018, their families, friends and Ingalls instructors and officials.
"The success of our world-class shipbuilding programs is due to your professionalism and commitment to your craft and this country," Hyde-Smith said. "I appreciate each and every person's commitment to providing our war-fighters with high-quality, dependable, world-class ships that will be used to defend our nation and its values.
"This is where all of you, as graduates, will play such an important role for our nation."
Launched in 1952, the Ingalls Apprentice School has graduated more than 5,000 apprentices in order to meet the shipyard's operational needs. The curriculum includes multiple disciplines in two- or four-year programs, in partnership with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
The school includes more than 60 faculty and staff members overseeing 15 programs and in excess of 120 different courses. More than 1,700 apprentice school graduates are working in roughly 50 different jobs at Ingalls -- many of them in craft trades, with another 850 apprentice school alumni advancing into management and professional roles.
"As you go to work next week as an apprentice graduate, I would like to give you a challenge: Choose to make a difference," said Ingalls president Brian Cuccias. "Real leaders make the right decision when it's hard and no one is looking. Anyone can make the right decision when it's easy.
"As I look out across this room, I couldn't be more encouraged on what our future holds. I couldn't be more proud of each and every one of you. Don't lose the momentum, because you are the future of Ingalls Shipbuilding, and what you do today and every day really does matter."