United States
July 11, 2018

From high school to Austal USA: How local graduates are now building ships for the U.S. Navy

Over the last decade the nation has seen a decline in American craftsmen and craftswomen. However, Williamson, Baker and Murphy High School in Mobile, Ala. and the Alabama Industrial Development & Technology (AIDT) Maritime Training program are producing just what the United States is lacking – well-trained trades professionals. With Austal’s commitment to training and hiring young local talent, Austal is pleased and proud to announce the hiring of three graduates into entry-level trade assistant positions.

18 year old Nicholas Coleman, a 2017 graduate of Williamson High School, 19 year old Zantavion Watts - a 2018 Murphy High School graduate and 18 year old Mason Lappin who graduated this year from Baker High School have begun careers at Austal where production is full steam ahead on two Navy shipbuilding programs, the Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship and the Expeditionary Fast Transport. 

Mason and Zantavion both participated in the recent paid internship program that Austal ran at the AIDT Maritime Training Center in partnership with the Mobile and Baldwin County public school systems.  Austal recruited the best Career and Technical Education (CTE) students from both systems into the program where they learned basic employment skills as well as skills specific to aluminum welding. The interns received both training and work experience.

Nicholas was a student of Williamson High School’s Maritime Signature Academy and upon graduation, enrolled in AIDT’s Austal-specific pre-hire training for aluminum structural welders. The Mobile County Public Schools’ Signature Academy programs allow students with a desire to learn a specific discipline, whether aerospace, engineering, medical, health care, international studies, maritime engineering or more, attend the specific high school established to shape students for a career in those fields. Nicholas dove into maritime studies and graduated as one of the top students in his class.  He also worked as an Austal intern at the Maritime Training Center last summer.

Austal is honored to partner with the Maritime Academy at Williamson High School as the program encourages students to explore and pursue careers in the maritime industry of welding, multi-craft and electrical fields of study.  Austal’s involvement involves offering paid summer internship positions to train at the Maritime Training Center under company welding instructors. These young men are off to a great start with their careers and we couldn’t be more proud.

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