MGCCC, Ingalls hold ribbon cutting for Maritime Training Academy

November 7, 2013

Haley Reeves Barbour (center), the former governor of Mississippi, officially opens the Maritime Training Academy, which bears his name. Also participating in the ribbon cutting are, from left, Mike Mangum, president, Jackson County Board of Supervisors; State Sen. Brice Wiggins; Irwin F. Edenzon, president of Ingalls Shipbuilding; Mike Petters, president and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries; Dr. Mary Graham, president of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College; and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Ingalls Shipbuilding held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Haley Reeves Barbour Maritime Training Academy located on Jerry St. Pé Ave. in Pascagoula on Wednesday, Nov. 6.  The 75,000-square-foot facility will be operated as a partnership between Ingalls and MGCCC for apprenticeship training.

Gov. Phil Bryant, speaking about the facility’s opening, said, “Congratulations to the Ingalls Shipbuilding family on the dedication of Haley Barbour Maritime Training Academy. This training academy will ensure that the next generation of shipbuilders in Mississippi maintains the world-class shipbuilding reputation built right here at Ingalls.”

With 400-600 apprentices being trained in 12 different program areas and who are co-enrolled as both students at MGCCC and in the Ingalls Apprenticeship Program, the facility will graduate a significant number of associate degree recipients in Maritime Technology.  There are currently 390 apprentices in the programs, with 500 expected by the end of next year.

Apprentices will take two classes each semester, tuition-free, over the course of their four-year apprenticeship program.  Ingalls will pay the cost of training for these students.

“This academy represents the kind of innovative venture that both MGCCC and Ingalls work to achieve every day, one that will change the lives of many hundreds of Ingalls employees as they strive to not only advance their education but their careers as well,” said Dr. Mary S. Graham, MGCCC president. “We are so excited to be a part of this incredible endeavor, one that promises to provide Ingalls and the Mississippi Gulf Coast with one of the best-trained workforces in the world.”

Classes will begin the facility in January. Over the next few months, an array of student services will be available, including a full-time MGCCC representative to help with enrollment and counseling; a bookstore; and a library.

Funding for the center was provided through a $25 million post-Katrina discretionary grant from the state.  The intent is to provide employability and educational opportunities for residents of South Mississippi and to provide a well-trained workforce for the shipbuilding industry.  The apprenticeship program offered as a partnership between Ingalls and MGCCC is a model for success.  It has been in place since 1959 and is the oldest apprenticeship program in the state.

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