NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) --A bigger Navy fleet demands a bigger workforce at Hampton Roads' largest private employer.

Newport News Shipbuilding is reaching out to a pool of candidates who will soon be looking for a job, military members about to return to civilian life.

Between 8,000 and 12,000 people leave uniform service for the private sector every year in Hampton Roads. Finding a job isn't always easy, but maybe it could if they looked at Newport News Shipbuilding.

As things stand currently, the shipyard is hiring around 400 workers a month. That number would increase in the months ahead as the Navy builds to a 355 ship fleet.

At the shipyard's fourth annual "Military Immersion program," 12 active duty career counselors and senior leaders from various military branches are getting a four-day inside look at shipyard operations. This program helps educate the soon-to-be civilians what civilian careers are available for transitioning military members.

Former Navy sailor Sultan Camp is now the shipyard's military liaison.

'The intent of the program is to give them an exclusive behind the scenes look at what we do here, so that way they can become brand ambassadors," he said.

On Tuesday, participants got the "trade" experience at the shipyard's Trades Training Center. There the visiting military members learned from electricians, machinists, riggers, and others. The program opened some eyes.

"Awesome, it was amazing to learn of the true diversity of career fields and skills sets that they have offered here at the shipyard," said Coast Guard Commander Rick Howell.

It was a true case of need intersecting with opportunity.

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