The following is the text of a news release from Austal USA:
(MOBILE, Ala.) — Austal USA combined two classes to graduate 48 members of Austal’s cutting-edge four-year apprenticeship program
Wednesday at a formal ceremony held at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center. The graduates received their certificates of completion and designation as Department of Labor Class A journeymen.
The graduates consisted of 22 electrical journeymen, nine pipefitting journeymen, four fit-out journeymen and 13 fabrication journeymen. Of the 48 graduating apprentices, 18 have already been promoted to leadership positions. Austal is proud to say that the retention numbers for these apprenticeship classes were above regional averages for other apprenticeship programs in our area.
Special recognition went to Robin Cumbie and Jay Smith — the valedictorians for each class — as they were presented with the Ross Latapie Award of Excellence. This award was named in memory of Ross Latapie, a former apprentice who worked tirelessly to increase his knowledge of the electrician trade by completing extra classroom and laboratory assignments from his instructors. He currently holds the record for the highest Austal USA apprenticeship academic GPA of 4.0.
In his remarks to the graduates at the ceremony, Craig Perciavalle, president, commented: “As a major player in the defense industry, Austal has experienced incredible growth and achieved major accomplishments over the last four years, a testament to your hard work and dedication as Austal employees.” Perciavalle continued, “You’re a special breed, working hard every day as well as successfully completing a demanding four-year apprenticeship program, and you should be proud of your accomplishment as I am of you.”
Austal’s apprenticeship program is certified by the U.S. Department of Labor, Alabama Department of Post Secondary Education, and the Veterans Administration. It is governed by the Department of Labor Standards of Apprenticeship for the respective trades of pipefitter, marine electrician, fabricator, and fit-out. The Alabama Department of Post Secondary Education has approved our four trade programs for the Veterans Administration which means that all eligible veterans may now apply for and receive GI Bill benefits that were earned for military service. The Department of Labor requires that each candidate complete a minimum of 576 hours of classroom time and an additional 8,000 hours of on-the-job-learning over the four-year period. For more information about Austal’s recruiting efforts, visit www.austaljobs.com.
Austal is currently under contract with the U.S. Navy to build 10 103-meter JHSVs under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion block buy contract and eight 127-meter Independence-variant LCS class ships as a part of a 10-ship, $3.5 billion block buy contract.
These two contracts have allowed Austal to increase its Mobile, Ala., work force to over 4,200 employees in order to fulfill contract requirements.