Yesterday, on an unusually warm December day, I attended the grand opening of the new Apprentice School building in downtown Newport News, Virginia. It was an event that made me proud to be an American, proud to be a Virginian and proud to be a veteran of the US Navy. I was a member of an audience that included local citizens, business leaders, government officials, the press, and students and alumni of The Apprentice School.The crowd was there to commemorate a successful project to finance and construct a new, state of the art vocational educational facility. Newport News Shipbuilding founded The Apprentice School in 1919; it was fully accredited by the Council of Occupational Education in 1982. Every year, The Apprentice School graduates between 170 and 250 skilled shipbuilders from 19 different trade training programs that last either four or five years. A few special programs take as many as eight years. In early 2014, the School will pass a milestone when graduate number 10,000 completes the program.
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