The Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School is a model for a national effort to boost apprenticeship programs, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said after touring the 103-year-old institution this week.
Walsh also hosted a panel discussion on workforce development issues at Thomas Nelson Community College, with Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Newport News.
Scott, who is chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, led the House through a bill that would create one million new apprenticeships across the country. It was amended in the Senate and the two bodies have yet to settle the differences. But Walsh said building learnings is a key priority for the Biden administration.
“Thomas Nelson Community College and The Apprentice School have been a model for the expansion and diversification of apprenticeship programs,” he said.
Scott said teaching people the skills they need to re-enter the workforce is key to recovering from the pandemic.
He said the vocational training programs he and Walsh have seen at the TNCC and apprentice school are national examples of how to do it.
“For more than a century, The Apprentice School has prepared students for work at the Newport News shipyard. As a result, thousands of workers have the tools they need to access rewarding careers,” Scott said.
The school recently obtained certification from the Council for Occupational Education to grant academic degrees for its 26 programs.
With its certification, the school will begin awarding Associate of Applied Science degrees in 2023 to apprentices who complete the required coursework and professional training. Its programs cover a wide variety of technical trades, including welding and nuclear test technician.
Dave Ress, 757-247-4535, [email protected]