By Alecia Reid

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For those looking for a job, there could be an option on the horizon. The iconic Philly Shipyard has been almost idle for the last few years, but the Shipyard is coming back to life and bringing hundreds of jobs back to South Philadelphia.

It’s completely empty today but not for long. The Philly Shipyard is revving back to full speed.

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With a skeleton crew, the Philly Shipyard is prepping for its newly secured contract.

“I’m all about getting people back in my yard,” Philly Shipyard CEO Steinar Nerbovik said.

Struggling to find new orders for the past two years, the CEO had to lay off the majority of his employees.

“We went from 1,200 workers down to 100,” Nerbovik said.

They’re now back to about 200. They started cutting steel back in December.

Eyewitness News cameras were allowed inside to capture workers now sandblasting and applying primer.

“We’ll sandblast, we’ll prime. We’ll get everything in production for them, where it goes over to the machines over there where they burn it, they mill it all for production,” Steve Drunn, a supervisor, said.

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Philly Shipyard’s quality and safety record has secured them a maritime contract to build four of the next generation of Maritime Academy ships to replace currently outdated ships.

“There will be space for 600 cadets onboard and 100 officers,” Nerbovik said.

Nerbovik said they need to hire another 500 workers this year and another 500 next year.

“Finance people, engineers, planners, purchasing people but most of all, production people,” Nerbovik said.

Like shipbuilders and welders.

“It’s really great to see the Shipyard coming back to life,” one worker said.

Laborers will build for this year and next. The first ship is expected to be delivered in spring 2023 and every six months after that until the contract is complete.

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