Naval Shipbuilders Visit Electrical, Welding Students of STC
February 6, 2013 - STC’s Vidalia campus hosted representatives from Ingalls Shipbuilding on February 6, giving electrical and welding students from Swainsboro and Vidalia a chance to discuss career opportunities with a major employer in their field.
Russell Bosarge, David Cobb and Kelly Collier spoke for Ingalls Shipbuilding, headquartered in Pascagoula, Miss., on an 800-acre shipyard that has constructed 80 percent of today’s United States Navy fleet and is presently rebuilding the US Coast Guard’s fleet. Ingalls also has yards in Louisiana and Virginia and is the largest employer in those states and Mississippi.
And they’re looking to employ more.
“We presently have 760 welders in Pascagoula,” said Cobb, trade manager for Ingalls. “We’re going to hire 450 more over the next couple of years. In total, we’re going to have 4,000 more employees over that same span.”
Bosarge, Cobb and Collier travel across the country to find welders that meet their specifications. At STC-Vidalia, they toured the welding facilities and delivered a presentation to electrical and welding students, but often their trips include testing prospective employees on-site. Ingalls’s high demand for welders can make these tests quite productive.
“We’ll come in and test, and if students pass, they’re handed over to me and we make an offer right then and there,” said Collier, an Ingalls recruiter.
Demand for welders in general is high. According to Cobb, the United States is short 300,000 structural welders today. That demand will rise to 500,000 in 2015, with the exodus of baby boomers as the root cause. For welders, this is a good problem to have.
“Baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 a day,” said Cobb, addressing the students. “That’s 3.5 million a year. And there’s just not enough people back filling. So, have you selected a good trade? You sure have.”
The Ingalls group expressed interest in scheduling a testing date at Southeastern Tech and encouraged interested individuals, welding students or otherwise, to contact them or STC to set up a visit in the future.
For more information, contact Southeastern Tech at 912-538-3100 or 478-289-2200 or visit www.southeasterntech.edu.