(PASCAGOULA, Miss.) — Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division was honored at the DirectEmployers Annual Meeting and Conference for its work hiring and promoting veterans. The shipyard's talent acquisition team won the overall award in the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) compliance initiatives category.
"We were honored to represent the Ingalls team in accepting this award," said Fred Howell, the manager of Ingalls' talent acquisition team. "Our team has received tremendous support in the arena of veteran hiring, and it was nice to be recognized."
As a part of Ingalls' Veteran Hiring Done Right initiative, the talent acquisition team developed a new hiring program called Fast-Track Foreman. Ingalls hires veterans ranked E6 and above and places them into a regimented six-month training class, during which they are prepared to become shipyard foremen. As a result of this program and other initiatives, veteran hires increased from 7 percent to 15 percent in just one year.
"Our veterans have made tremendous sacrifices for our country as they've served in the U.S. military," said Edmond Hughes, Ingalls' vice president of human resources and administration. "Ingalls' Veteran Hiring Done Right initiative is just one of the many ways Ingalls is striving to repay them. By providing E6 veterans with the opportunity to use their leadership skills as foremen, our shipyard benefits from having these exceptional leaders."
Howell said other companies are now following the award-winning model Ingalls created. "One of the best parts of our success is that more than 160 companies attended the conference, and several large organizations approached us about how to start their own programs," he said. "One company incorporated the things we taught them at a conference and started their own veterans hiring program. It's always nice to be recognized by your peers."