Supervisor Alfredo Dajer, graduate of the Philly Shipyard Apprentice Program, speaks to a group of students about career development opportunities from apprenticeship programs. Photo credit: Charles Cerrone PhotographyIn coordination with the Philadelphia School District, the shipyard invited 30 students from four area schools to its newly developed Training Academy, where current Philly Shipyard apprentices receive welding training. In May 2016, the company opened the academy to provide a dedicated facility offering customized training for all production personnel. The visiting students shadowed current apprentices in the new academy, met with former apprentices, and then participated in a tour of the larger shipyard facility. Jim Clark, PSI Training Manager, organized the second annual event and commented, "Philly Shipyard's apprentice program is a necessity for our business to build and sustain a long-term workforce. Since its inception, the company has graduated 106 apprentices who have developed into the next generation of skilled shipbuilders. There are another 75 active apprentices. The students visiting today have an opportunity to witness first-hand the value of joining an apprenticeship program to learn the skills and academics necessary for a successful career in manufacturing. It is an opportunity like no other." Initiated in 2004, the three-year apprenticeship program develops the next generation of Philly Shipyard employees. As of today, shipyard apprentice graduates and current apprentices make up 23% of its current workforce. Since its founding, 21 graduates have moved into management positions and many have obtained additional manufacturing qualifications. The shipyard hired 50 apprentices in 2016 and intends to hire more in 2017.