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Shipfitters graduate from community college's 'boot camp'

GULFPORT — Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College recently held a graduation ceremony for 17 graduates of the Shipfitter Boot Camp at the Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center (AMTC) in Gulfport.

The 10-week training program is designed to prepare individuals for entry–level employment as shipfitters. Originally, 20 participants were invited to participate in the boot camp following pre-qualification activities that included drug testing, Workkeys assessments, industry presentations, shipyard tours and interviews.

Michael Leleux, training and recruiting manager at VT Halter Marine, said the program is excellent. “Because this curriculum was designed by industry for industry, it assures that the participants are completing training ready to begin entry-level jobs in shipbuilding and metal fabrication. It is absolutely one of the best curriculums we have ever used.”

The Shipfitter Boot Camp is part of a larger project to develop standardized shipfitting curriculum with a portable skill certificate that is recognized by Gulf States Shipbuilders Consortium members along the Gulf Coast and can be used by schools and shipyards to train individuals on core shipfitting skills. Local industries involved in developing the curriculum include AIDT, Alabama Technology Network, Austal USA, BAE Systems, Bollinger Shipyards, C&G Boatworks, Ingalls Shipbuilding, Signal International, Trinity Yachts, VT Halter Marine and WESCO.

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