PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — At the southern tip of the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia, an Apprenticeship Training Academy is developing the next-generation of skilled shipyard workers and leaders.
Philly Shipyard, formerly Aker, which succeeded the Kværner Shipbuilding, has 650 employees and 400 contractors but, importantly, another 75 people in its three-year apprenticeship program.
“I came in here, never seen a ship before, and I just worked my way up,” said John Beinlich of Ridley Park, a graduate of the program.
Beinlich got promoted, and is the first apprentice to become a foreman, in charge of all machinery on the ships.
“The apprenticeships are the way that the country needs to be going. Here, it tells you where you’re going to go, how much you’re going to make, and what you’re going to be doing,” said Beinlich.Governor Wolf enjoyed the tour of the commercial shipbuilding operation.
“This is what makes a great port city, the ability to build ships,” Wolf said.
Jim Clark, the Manager of Training at Philly Shipyard, says right now they’ve got four oceangoing merchant vessels under construction.
“About 600 feet long, or two football fields long.”
As for the cost per ship?
“About $150 million. But, ya know, we can do a deal today, if you’re interested,” joked Clark.