'Waterfront Academy' To Teach Students About Shipbuilding

Thursday, August 03, 2000
National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) and the Sweetwater Union High School District announced the creation of a "Waterfront Academy" that will train high school seniors in ship manufacturing technologies beginning in the next school year.

This innovative program is expected to bring 60 to 75 incoming seniors to NASSCO's bayfront shipbuilding facility for both academic classes and career preparation. During a six-hour school day in classrooms currently under construction at NASSCO, students will receive hands-on training from the company's industry experts and will study academics with their Sweetwater teachers. Training and mentoring will be offered in trades such as electrical, machinery, pipefitting, sheet metal, ship fitting, rigging, and welding. Students will learn skills in applied mathematics, physical science and blueprint reading, and the use of computers, manufacturing tools, machinery, and rigging equipment. Students who successfully complete the ship manufacturing and academic courses will earn their high school diploma. After graduation and a 240-hour internship, students will qualify for available entry-level employment at NASSCO. They can also choose to work at other companies or continue their education at a community college or university.

NASSCO's President Richard Vortmann said, "The Waterfront Academy offers the high school student interested in pursuing a course of study in the skilled manufacturing and contractor trades an opportunity to obtain needed training and education. The typical high school, today, no longer offers this type of training through traditional "shop" classes. Based on NASSCO's need for additional people to work on our current and future shipbuilding programs, as well as replacing employees who are expected to retire or leave through normal attrition, we expect to be hiring up to 1,000 people over the next three to four years. NASSCO is looking at students in this program as our future core of skilled craftsmen and a future source of supervisors, managers and engineers."

There are several local community partners supporting the creation and administration of the new Waterfront Academy. The Regional Occupational Program (ROP) will work with NASSCO's instructors.

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