Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell toured the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) for an update of the shipyard's activities, particularly the successful, job-producing apprenticeship program. This program has continued to grow over recent years, providing job-placement training for more than 200 artisans and technicians per year, representing 26 different trades. Cantwell also toured the USS John Stennis, which is currently homeported at Naval Base Kitsap.
"With the population of shipyard workers aging and nearing retirement, apprenticeship programs like this are critical to training the next generation of workers and preserving our military's readiness," said Senator Cantwell. "Especially during Memorial Day week, it is important to remember the commitment we have to guarantee our military -- and support staff -- all the resources they need to keep our nation safe."
PSNS is one of the largest employers in the Pacific Northwest, with over 10,000 civil employees and 579 military personnel. The apprenticeship program currently has 797 enrollees, with an additional 220 projected enrollees for 2010 and 215 projected for 2011. Over 2,500 current PSNS employees graduated from the apprenticeship program.
The USS Stennis finished a six-month deployment in the western Pacific Ocean in July, and has been in surge status ever since, meaning it is ready to deploy as needed. Maintenance on the USS Stennis is set to begin in early June through mid-November. During this cycle, the 3,200 member crew will be engaged in training, repair and community relations operations.