From Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs
NORFOLK (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic honored five graduates Nov.12, the latest professionals to graduate from the command's rigorous apprenticeship program.
Since the program's inception in 2006, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic has graduated more than 85 apprentices, specializing in a variety of fields. According to Apprentice Program Manager Tiffany Doxsee, the program is highly competitive to get into and takes great commitment on the part of the apprentice.
"Upon completion, the program is designed to produce highly skilled tradespeople," said Doxsee.
The apprentice program is divided into two parts: mentored on-the-job training and classroom instruction at an accredited technical school, college or university.
The paid apprenticeships include on-the-job-training, conducted in a controlled work situation under the direction of the first line supervisor, work leader and/or mechanic or journey worker. Apprentices thrive under the tutelage of progressively difficult tasks, shaped around the trade programs in which they attend in their off-duty hours.
In all, apprentices rack up 8,000 hours while training on the job, applied to certification in one of nine trades: auto mechanic; boiler plant mechanic; electrician; high voltage electrician; heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) mechanic; heavy mobile equipment mechanic; industrial equipment control mechanic; pipefitter; and plumber.
Skilled workers in these fields are crucial to the mission of NAVFAC.
"Many of MIDLANT's expert tradespersons are rapidly approaching retirement," said Doxsee. "We consider this program is an investment in our future. It is one method being used to help ensure MIDLANT remains ready and capable of supporting the mission and the warfighter."
So long as apprentices maintain a 2.0 GPA, they not only receive a Department of Labor journeyman certificate, but they often graduate with a degree, which is a valuable asset for student and command alike.
Capt. Eric Aaby, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic executive officer was on hand to congratulate the graduates and hand out their certificates. He encouraged them to keep learning and further hone their skills.
"We will also look to you to mentor those apprentices who come after you," said Aaby.
Ms. Doxsee says that this program is central to the command's plans for training and retaining world-class professionals. The program has 67 apprentices in the program to date and hopes to recruit 20 new apprentices next year under the PATHWAYS Program.