267 skilled workers graduated from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility Apprentice Program last week.
This year’s class represents 24 different trades and maintained an overall class GPA of 3.835, according to a PSNS press release. Each graduate received their certificates as journey-level mechanics in their respective trades, as well as an associate’s degree in technical arts from Olympic College.
Family members, friends, instructors, supervisors, apprentice program alumni, and local government officials attended the ceremony, held at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds for the first time, in order to accommodate the large number of attendees.
“Your achievement in completing the Apprentice Program is a tribute to your dedication, resolve and willingness to embrace hard work in order to improve yourselves, your families, your community and our Navy,” PSNS & IMF Commander Capt. Dianna Wolfson said in a video message to the graduating class. “You should be proud of those accomplishments. I am proud of your accomplishment.”
“Along the way, you have developed the knowledge, skills and abilities that set you on the path for what is next,” Wolfson continued. “As you reflect upon what you have accomplished so far, remember, this is only a milestone in the journey.”
Apprentice class speaker and Electronics Mechanic Sybrina Nanez spoke about the importance of camaraderie going forward.
“No matter where we came from, how we got here or what obstacles we have encountered along the way, we now all share this one thing,” Nanez said. “We are now all part of a larger team of current, past and future apprentices. We are part of an immense network that stretches far and wide that we will be able to call upon throughout our careers and beyond.”
Four graduates received special honors during the ceremony:
- Nickole Starks, welder, named the Apprentice of the Year by the program’s administration.
- Joshua Neumann, temporary services electrician, received the Scholastic Achievement Award from the Federal Manager’s Association.
- Winfred Hermansen, shipfitter, received the Apprentice Craftsman Award from the Assistant Production Superintendent’s Association.
- Chase Kelly, machinist, received the Leadership Award from the National Association of Superintendents.
The PSNS & IMF Apprentice Program was created in 1901, when the Shipyard Labor Board selected six men to train under skilled craftsmen at the facility. The program has graduated 9,617 mechanics since it began. Since 1950, the shipyard has partnered with Olympic College for customized, accredited course work in support of the program.