HII Graduates 184 Shipbuilders from Apprentice School

Rear Adm. Mat Winter, the U.S. Navy’s deputy program executive officer for the F-35 Lightning II, gave the commencement address at The Apprentice School graduation. Photo by John Whalen.

By Joseph R. Fonseca

Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) hosted
commencement exercises on Saturday for 184 graduates of the
company's Apprentice School located at Newport News Shipbuilding.
The ceremony was held at Liberty Baptist Church Worship Center in

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 everything they
have achieved and will continue to achieve makes a difference.

"Newport News Shipbuilding is a leader-a leader on the global
stage in providing war-fighting capability to our Navy," Winter
said. "You just have to look around and see our submarine fleet
and our surface fleet and those great American aircraft carriers
that are here and around the world doing the diplomacy and the
engagement and the power projection that keeps our nation safe
and allows us to do what we need to do every day. 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."

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.
Seventy-nine apprentices earned honors, which combines academic
and craft grades to determine overall performance. Fifteen
graduates completed the program with a perfect 4.0 grade point
average in the required academic curriculum. Nineteen graduates
were recognized as Gold Athletic Award recipients for outstanding
achievement in four consecutive years of Apprentice School
collegiate athletics.

Of the 184 graduates, 13 are military veterans or are currently
serving in the Armed Services as reservists and guardsmen.

Newport News Shipbuilding President Matt Mulherin addressed the
graduates as the shipyard's newest leaders. "Leadership is not a
title or a position," he said. "A leader produces results and
sets examples. You, indeed, are all leaders, and I commend you
and I applaud you on this defining moment in your shipbuilding
careers and in your lives."

Evan George Danz received the Homer L. Ferguson Award for earning
the highest grade point average for required academic and craft
grades combined. Danz is a naval architect who began his
shipbuilding career in 2013 as an outside machinist apprentice.

"There is truth in the old saying: 'Blame the carpenter and not
the tool,'" Danz said. "A drill is only as effective as the
person who holds it. Our tasks may have been difficult and some
have been repetitive, but we were always improving our technique,
speed, efficiency and critical thinking. We are more valuable to
our shipbuilding community than any tool, drill, saw or crane
could ever be."

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 Apprentice 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.

Feb 28, 2017

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