Austal USA honored 15 graduates of the full-service shipyard’s four-year apprenticeship
program Aug. 14 at a ceremony held in the new Office Complex Multi-Use Room, site
of a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the official opening of
three new buildings at Austal’s state-of-the-art shipbuilding operation in
The graduates received their certificates of
completion and designation as Department of Labor Class A Journeymen. The
graduating class consisted of six electrical journeymen, four pipe fitting
journeymen, and five fabrication journeymen.
Special recognition went to class
valedictorian Bill Ray Stroup, Jr., who received the “Ross Latapie Award of
Excellence.” This award is named in memory of Ross Latapie, a former apprentice
who worked tirelessly to increase his knowledge of the electrician trade by
completing extra classroom and laboratory assignments from his instructors. He
currently holds the record for the highest Austal USA apprenticeship academic GPA
“This is a shining moment for these 15
graduates and their families. Austal USA is pleased with our ability to
continually improve our workforce annually with the introduction of a new group
of highly-trained production workers as a result of the success of this program,”
says Brian Leathers, Austal USA interim president/chief financial officer, in a
company press release.
Austal’s apprenticeship program is certified
by the U.S. Department of Labor, Alabama Department of Post Secondary
Education, and the Veteran's Administration. It is governed by the Department
of Labor Standards of Apprenticeship for the respective trades of pipefitter,
marine electrician, fabricator and fitout.
The Alabama Department of Post Secondary
Education has approved the company’s four trade programs for the Veteran's
Administration, meaning that all eligible veterans may now apply for and
receive GI Bill benefits that were earned for military service, Austal says.
The Department of Labor requires that each candidate complete a minimum of 576
hours of classroom time and an additional 8,000 hours of on-the-job-learning
over the four-year period. For more information about Austal’s recruiting
efforts, visit www.austaljobs.com.