Ingalls Industries, for more than 60 years to offer
one of the largest—and oldest—apprenticeship programs in the nation. In a forward-looking development that meets the needs of today’s employees, the
program’s 800 active participants can be awarded
up to 30 hours of college credit for the skills they
already possess through a competency-based education model, and they can earn the 30 additional
credits they need for an associate degree in fields
such as welding or pipefitting while they are working full time.
Ingalls Shipbuilding is the state’s largest provider
of jobs, employing 11,000 of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s
approximately 20,000 maritime workers.
“Over the next three years, a total of 9,000 maritime
employees will need to be trained and hired in the
region,” says John Shows, associate vice president of
Community Campus & Career-Technical Education
for MGCCC. The apprenticeship program is helping to
meet this critical workforce need.
“In the past, workforce training did not emphasize the obtainment of an AAS degree,” Shows adds.
“Competency-based education affords the opportunity for an apprentice to achieve both goals.”
AN ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
In looking to innovate, MGCCC leaders put the needs
of students and employers at the heart of everything
they do. But there is also a strong entrepreneurial spirit
running throughout the college and its programs.
“With declining federal and state funding, one
survival strategy we have adopted is that we have
become a highly entrepreneurial enterprise,” Graham
says. “Our goal is to generate funding in unique ways,
so that we are able to keep our tuition low.”
For instance, MGCCC rents out suites in its $10
million football stadium for home games. One of
these suites is rented to a different university for each
home game, which allows the university to take part
in the coin toss, use the suite, and set up a table in the
area near the concession stands for giveaways and
handouts. MGCCC students learn more about oppor-
tunities to earn a four-year degree, the universities
get to promote themselves to prospective students,
to some of the closest universities. So, we figured: I m
works in the
Lab, part of