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Joyce Endee

Students get good look at shipyard opportunities

by Tim Croes
Staff Writer - The Baysider

STUDENTS visited Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Jan. 25 and learned about the various trade programs, apprenticeship opportunities and robotics and engineering programs. Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
February 08, 2012
ALTON — Several juniors and seniors from Prospect Mountain High School got the chance to visit the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Jan. 25 and learned about the trade programs, apprenticeship opportunities, robotics and engineering programs.

Guidance counselor Cathy Bond found students interested in the visit through Brian Hikel and Mark Marceau's industrial arts classes.

PMHS collaborates with the shipyard in a school/business partnership that encourages students to apply for jobs in the apprenticeship program, as well as post-college opportunities.

Indigo Wearing got a chance to use a virtual welder and got a score high enough that would place her in the apprenticeship program.

"It was very life-like, other than the fact that there was no depth perception," Wearing said. "It gave me a definite confident boost."

Joey LeBlanc was impressed and excited to see that there are jobs that pay between $17 and $18 an hour that are available right out of high school.

Bond feels that giving the students an opportunity to visit the shipyard and see the real world opportunities in a field that is holding steady in this tough economy was very beneficial.

The students felt that everyone at the shipyard was very welcoming and that the facilities were spotless and very clean and organized.

Tyler Giordano is looking into enrolling in the Navy and sees value in enrolling in the program and having the Navy pay for a college degree.

He also saw a lot of passion from everyone at the shipyard from the apprentices up through to superintendents of the different buildings on site.

"The people kept saying it was more of career and not just a job," Giordano said.

Throughout the visit, students donned hard hats and safety goggles and they visited different buildings including the pipefitting, welding, machining departments and the fitness center.

Matt Breuer, who is part of the robotics team at PMHS, was impressed to learn about submarines while visiting the shipyard.

"I thought it was cool that they taught us the two different classes of submarines," Breuer said about the visit.

Some the things that the students stuck out in their minds during the visit included an 80,000-ton press and multi-million dollar robot welder.

Additionally, the students were surprised that people at the lowest levels were allowed to work with such expensive and complicated machinery.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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