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Ingalls Opens New Training Facility

By Evelina Burnett | Published 06 Nov 2013 08:50pm | comments
Former Governor Haley Barbour (center) officially opens the Maritime Training Academy, which bears his name. Photo by Steve Blount (Courtesy Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.)
Ingalls Shipbuilding, Mississippi’s largest private employer, is opening a new training facility to prepare future shipbuilders. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports.

Former Governor Haley Barbour says that as Mississippi’s chief executive, he saw firsthand how important workforce training was to the state’s economy.

"For most businesses, and particularly most manufacturers in our state, the single most important issue was a quality workforce," Barbour recalls. "And to help our working people improve their skills, where they could get higher paying, better jobs, was something I thought we owed the working people just as much as we owe eight-year-olds an elementary school education."

Barbour was speaking at the ribbon cutting of a new maritime training academy, named in his honor, at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.

The new facility will teach 14 different crafts, such as pipe-fitting and welding.

Ingalls Shipbuilding President Irwin F. Edenzon says workforce development is crucial to the company because he can buy infrastructure and materials, "but you have to develop a workforce."

Edenzon says the new 70,000-square-foot facility will help the company grow its apprentice program, which was started in 1952. It's graduated 4,000 workers over the years.

"We've got about 400 people in the program," he says. "We'd like to take that up quite a bit. We're actually hiring right now, and we'd like to see some more folks get in the program."

He added: We've made the entrance criteria a little tougher, because we want people with good reading and math skills."

Ingalls currently has 12,000 workers and to hire 1,000 more next year.

The apprentice program is a partnership with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. 

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Former Governor Haley Barbour (center) officially opens the Maritime Training Academy, which bears his name. Photo by Steve Blount (Courtesy Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.)


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