Huntington Ingalls Industries, America’s largest military shipbuilding company, recently announced that The Apprentice School at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division is participating in a four-year effort to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in registered apprenticeship programs.
As part of the recently announced $13 million cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Labor, The Apprentice School is joining seven other strategic partners that will work with Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit that works to make the nation’s workforce and education systems more equitable.
According to the Department of Labor, participation and completion rates for women and minorities in registered apprenticeship programs lag behind all active apprentices. However, the percentage of students at The Apprentice School who are minorities or women is significantly higher than the national average. School leaders will assist organizations through several methods, including sharing best practices, panel discussions, workshops and written resources.
“This is an important workforce development initiative, and we are excited to work with Jobs for the Future to help other organizations increase equity, diversity and inclusion,” said Latitia McCane, director of education at The Apprentice School. “We have been successful in recruiting and retaining minority students. If you have something that works, I think it’s important to share that with others to help them accelerate and get into the space they need to be in.”
The Apprentice School is the preeminent apprenticeship program in the nation that offers four- to eight-year, tuition-free apprenticeships in 19 trades and eight optional advanced programs. For more than a century, The Apprentice School has contributed to the growth of Newport News Shipbuilding by recruiting, training and developing the next generation of shipbuilding leaders. Accredited by the Council for Occupational Education, The Apprentice School is certified to offer associate’s degrees of applied science in maritime technology in 26 educational programs. 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.