Coast Guard, college train shipyard workers

The Coast Guard is training new shipyard workers in partnership with Community College of Baltimore County reports the Baltimore Sun.  Curtis Bay apprentices receive job training and earn college credits.  Many go on to complete an associate’s degree.

The apprenticeship experience is “dirty and exhausting and fun,” said Melody Bloch, 26, a graduate and marine machinist from Pasadena. And it pays — $36,000 a year during the four-year program and a salary of about $49,000 upon graduation.

The Coast Guard modeled the program after one created by the Navy and General Dynamics Corp. in Norfolk, Va., combining college-level courses with on-the-job training.

“I was getting out of the Coast Guard and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I literally stepped off the cutter and into the first class,” said Jason Deyo, 31, a shipyard safety specialist who enlisted right out of Loch Raven High School. “What a great opportunity.”

Deyo completed his two-year degree, got a bachelor’s in occupational safety and is working now on a master’s in organizational leadership from Columbia Southern University.

As older workers approach retirement, Curtis Bay need workers with welding, sheet metal, machinery, pipefitting, electrical and painting skills.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or an equivalent and take college placement tests. Often 100 people will apply for every position. Apprentices must earn a grade of 70 or better in community college courses. They earn 39 credits in four years, leaving them only about two semesters’ short of an associate degree.