US Navy Enters Into Education Agreement

US Navy Enters Into

The Navy has entered into a cooperative education agreement worth $10 million with the State of Louisiana and Delgado Community College in New Orleans, La., to support existing education, training and workforce development of the maritime industry trades.

The agreement is part of a larger education initiative by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to provide support to transition, improve and broaden key elements of education including the current Delgado Apprentice School Program located near the Avondale shipyard. The Huntington Ingalls Industries-owned shipyard is scheduled to close in 2013 following the completion of the two LPD ships currently under construction there.

The long-standing partnership between the United States Navy, Avondale shipyard, and Delgado Community College has enabled the creation and maintenance of a well educated and professional workforce for the shipbuilding industry,” said Mabus. “This cooperative education agreement is indicative of the Navy’s commitment to that partnership, which will enable Louisiana to keep pace with the shipbuilding industry’s demands for workforce competency.

Under the agreement, the Navy will provide the money to fund a four-year agreement to maintain and expand the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related aspects of the apprenticeship program. Such aspects include standardizing core competencies for skilled trades, formalizing a career path for the skilled workforce, and updating the current Avondale shipyard training curriculum to expand applicability to commercial suppliers. The school will be an open enrollment program that will service individual applicants as well as those students employed by regional shipbuilders and suppliers.

This agreement complements commitments made by Huntington Ingalls Industries to provide property and technical laboratories, and Bollinger Shipyards who has also offered to donate equipment for training workers in the technique of friction stirred welding.

Delgado Community College continues a unique and successful partnership with the shipbuilding industry, providing Louisiana¹s economy with both short-term and long-term benefits,” said Dr. Monty Sullivan, chancellor of Delgado Community College. “It will allow the state to reach its ultimate goal of providing business and industry with a skilled workforce pool, particularly in advanced manufacturing, while simultaneously providing Louisiana workers with the ability to succeed in the emerging economy.”

The apprentice program resides adjacent to the Avondale facility and has been a unique partnership of state and local governments, industry and academia, producing thousands of skilled tradesmen that directly support Navy programs. It has also provided higher education opportunities for exceptional tradesmen through the local network of community colleges and universities. A specific goal of the program is to reach out to returning veterans and wounded warriors to provide education and career opportunities. The program has reached out to local high schools which make use of the facility as part of their education studies, and has stimulated interest in the STEM disciplines, providing a pathway to fill the gap in the demand for skilled technicians and engineers both regionally and nationally. Many of the high school students that participate in the program might not otherwise have the resources to pursue a technical career.

Another emphasis of the agreement will also be to retain the regional shipbuilders and suppliers to construct and repair Sealift and naval auxiliary ships that are designed using commercial standards. This would also include such things as maintenance and repair of commercial Ready Reserve Force Sealift Ships, as many are layberthed on the Gulf Coast.

The State of Louisiana has played a significant role in the construction of commercial and Navy ships and based on this employment base, has become a major hub for developing skilled tradesmen, as well as technicians and engineers that support the Navy maritime industry at large.

Delgado Community College is the second largest school of higher education in the state and has a strong history of supporting the Navy and the nation. The main campus is located in City Park on the site of the former Higgins Industries. Then known as Delgado Trade School, it produced a workforce of more than 20,000 workers who built the legendary Higgins Landing Craft as well as PT Boats and other craft that were instrumental in winning WWII. During Hurricane Katrina, the main campus was flooded with six feet of water, but has recovered to serve the community.

Press Release, Septembar 5, 2012