Need a job? 750 entry-level shipyard positions to post on Wednesday

The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is hiring hundreds of civilians starting this week.

The region’s largest employer will open a five-day window this week for applicants to try for hundreds of entry-level jobs with the U.S. Navy.

The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility will post 750 federal jobs at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, the facility’s public affairs outfit announced on Monday.

There is no education requirement to apply for the trainee posts, spokesperson J.C. Mathews said. The jobs fall into four categories: ship inactivation and dismantler; tool and parts attendant; materials expediter; and helper (various trades).

Pay starts at $16.41 per hour plus benefits such as health insurance, paid sick and vacation days, and the possibility of future tuition assistance. Trainee posts also present opportunities for advancement, including into the shipyard’s apprenticeship program, which further prepares employees for careers at the Navy installation.

The positions are listed as “full-time seasonal,” which means employees could be furloughed if no work is available, the release says. But trainees are entitled to all the benefits of federal employment, Mathews said.

“Make no mistake about it. These are full-fledged federal employees,” he said.

Entering the shipyard workforce through the trainee program is the “most common route” for non-service members to join the staff, according to the Navy.

Openings for shipyard jobs to the general public are rare, and the jobs are coveted particularly by young people in the region, said Shani Watkins, director of Bremerton’s West Sound Technical Skills Center, a trade school.

“For a lot of students that come here, their goal is to get a job at the shipyard,” Watkins said. “Because they know it’s a viable option for them.”

Many programs at West Sound Tech — in OSHA certification, welding, pipe fitting and carpentry — give graduates an advantage during the shipyard application process, Watkins said. Teachers also help students prepare their applications, get them registered on the USA Jobs website, and help draft resumes and cover letters.

Trade school opportunities and the shipyard’s trainee and apprenticeship programs have been seen as models for the state, particularly in light of the ballooning costs of college tuition. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell paid a visit to West Sound Tech in October, lauding certification programs such as welding and auto repair, and commending West Sound Tech for providing a pipeline to good-paying federal jobs at the shipyard.

“How do we replicate this across the state?” she asked during a sit-down with Watkins and Bremerton School District Superintendent Aaron Leavell.

Watkins said the shipyard trainee openings have been on students’ minds of late.

“They’re excited,” she said.

She said the entry-level jobs “offer students an opportunity to explore the world a little bit.”

“It gives them the chance to earn some money and figure what they want to do, and what they don’t want to do,” she said.

While the skills center aims to prepare students for jobs or for college — or both— she said, “a lot of them are looking for occupational opportunities.”

The recruitment event will begin at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10 and last through 8:59 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 14. Application instructions will be posted on USAJOBS.gov. Applicants must be 18 or older, and be able to pass “security and physical fitness requirements” for the position, according to the release.

The Bremerton shipyard employs more than 14,000 active duty service members and civilians to “maintain, modernize and retire the U.S. Navy fleet,” according to the Navy.

Gabe Stutman is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. Follow him on Twitter @kitsapgabe.

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