Apprentice School Director of Education Latitia McCane, left, and Gilbert Adams congratulated Youth Builders during the drive-up ceremony.

Celebrating Youth Builders

Published May 25, 2021

The Apprentice School celebrated the second cohort of high school juniors and seniors to complete the Youth Builders pre-apprenticeship program with a drive-up certificate ceremony May 6.

The Youth Builders program reaches out to high school students with an interest in shipbuilding careers, showcases opportunities available at The Apprentice School and provides technical skills to improve job readiness. The goal is to empower and recruit a new generation of shipbuilders.

Gilbert Adams (O22), the Youth Builders program lead, said five students from the first cohort of Youth Builders, which began in fall 2019, are currently attending The Apprentice School. With programs like Youth Builders and the recent announcement that the school will begin granting associate degrees in 2023, Adams said he believes the number of students showing interest will continue to grow.

“I think our brand is getting broader exposure,” he said.

Youth Builders focuses on four areas – workplace learning, e-mentoring, personal leadership and math enrichment. Program partners include local school divisions, community colleges and workforce development organizations.

York High School seniors Cam Edwards and Nick Smith were among the students honored during the drive-up ceremony earlier this month. Both have already applied to The Apprentice School.

Edwards, who is interested in becoming a rigger, said he already was interested in The Apprentice School before the Youth Builders program, thanks to his older brother’s experience.

“This made me want to come here even more because I learned about experiences and how things work,” he said. “I would strongly recommend it to other people.”

Smith, who is interested in becoming an inside machinist, said the Youth Builders program taught him what The Apprentice School is all about and how it can line up apprentices for a successful career at Newport News Shipbuilding.

“It helps me particularly because I want to stay in the area. It helps me create a foundation,” he said. “If I go to The Apprentice School, I’ll have a stable job and financial situation to stay here my whole life.”

For more information about the Youth Builders program, or to submit an application for the 2021-2022 cohort, visit Under the Programs tab, select Youth Builders.