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October 27, 2015 – U.S. Department of Commerce, By Bethany Skorik

Sparks flying, the smell of flux and metal fusion in the air, and a fog horn echoing in the distance. On Friday, October 23, Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) welcomed over 100 local high school students from Marinette, WI and Menominee, Mich. to learn about the art of shipbuilding, and what it takes to become the next generation Shipbuilder.

Visitors standing in front of a ship at the FMM shipyard
Fincantieri Marinette Marine, a shipyard located in Marinette, WI, has built over 1300 vessels since opening in 1942.

Students were hand selected by school instructors, based on their aptitude and interest in Voc Tech classes, math, and engineering. FMM, the largest employer within the local community, teamed with employee development partner Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) to provide participants with a firsthand introduction to the fast paced and rewarding careers in shipbuilding. The event included demonstrations in welding, electrical, engineering, and operations. Presenters covered not only the specifics about each trade, but also the education needed to obtain that position, and career paths for those excelling in that discipline. Students learned that in addition to obtaining a job in these specific areas, individuals with this specific training may also pursue careers in Supervision, Program Management, Purchasing, and Sales. The event was held at the Northcoast Marine Manufacturing Training Center, a state of the art training facility managed by NWTC, located one block from the shipyard. The center was designed with Marine Manufacturing in mind, equipped with welding, electrical, and brazing labs, in addition to traditional classrooms. This proved to be a perfect venue to introduce local students to the skilled trades in a safe and control environment.

Wide-eyed students donned in safety gear, were escorted into the shipyard and given a tour of the waterfront operations. Here, they saw 3 US Navy Littoral Combat Ships, each the length of a football field, at the pier, and 4 additional craft under various stages of construction. They saw employees of all different trades, designated by the color of their hard hats, and uniformed Navy crew members working side by side. Company tour guides explained that the ships they saw at the water front entered the shipyard 3 years earlier by railway, as flat sheets of steel. The highly skilled employees of FMM, who’ve mastered the skills that were demonstrated to the students in the training center earlier that morning, were responsible for transforming the concept and design of a vessel into the Navy’s newest warship docked before them. Once delivered to the Navy, each ship will join the Fleet, and eventually patrol the waters in the Asia Pacific.

Fincantieri Marinette Marine plans to make Manufacturing Day an annual event. It was a powerful way for the company to reach the next generation manufacturers. Throughout the planning process, company representatives and high school administrators were able to collaborate on ways to reach the students and introduce them to modern day Manufacturing. The students left with a better understanding of how to prepare themselves for the vast and diverse career opportunities in this field.

Editor’s note: Guest blog post by Bethany Skorik, Public Affairs Manager, Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM).


The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.