NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Monday, Huntington Ingalls Industries announced a big step forward for the Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School - the program has just been certified to offer academic degrees.
Previously, The Apprentice School conferred degrees through partnerships with Thomas Nelson Community College, Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University.
Now that its been certified as a postsecondary institution by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, The Apprentice School is aiming to offer associates degree programs for applied sciences.
These programs still need to be approved by the Council of Occupational Education, but HII wrote in a statement that once it is, they hope to offer 26 disciplines in the associate's degree of applied sciences - including nuclear test technician, marine designer, maintenance electrician and other tracks.
Xavier Beale, the shipyard's vice president of trades, said the long-sought certification would "deepen [its] commitment to workforce development."
"This is an historic milestone for The Apprentice School," Beale wrote in a release.
Apprentices work 40-hour weeks, and are paid for their time in classes.