Shipyard Workers Graduate From Four-year Apprenticeships

Shop 52 Electronics Measurement Equipment Mechanic Cheryl Yamanaka is congratulated Aug. 9 by Shipyard Commander Brian Osgood after graduating from the 2013 Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Apprentice Program at a ceremony at Bloch Arena on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Yamanaka also earned an outstanding craftsman award as well as the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard National Association of Superintendents Superior Craftsman Award. Photo from David Tomiyama.

The latest group of apprentices at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility graduated from the program Aug. 9 with a ceremony at the shipyard.

Representing 25 shops and 19 trades, all 132 graduates completed the shipyard’s four-year apprenticeship program, which combines academics with hands-on work experience.

Through their coursework, the apprentices earned associate’s degrees from Honolulu Community College. In addition, they earned certification in their trades from the Navy and the U.S. Department of Labor.

“These graduates were chosen from among the thousands who applied,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie stated at the graduation ceremony, where he was the keynote speaker.

“They have met standards set 105 years ago when the shipyard was first founded. They represent a legacy of apprenticeship that goes back generations, all the way to the Middle Ages. It’s a great honor and privilege to be here.”

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono also had words of encouragement for the newly minted graduates.

“As journeymen and women, you assume integral roles by helping to maintain the most powerful Navy in the world,” Hirono wrote in a letter to the class. “I am confident in the shipyard leadership and your newly recognized skills, which continue to make America strong.”

In addition to the degrees and certificates, individual awards also were presented. Among awardees was Cheryl Yamanaka, an electronics measurement equipment mechanic originally from Aiea, who won the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard National Association of Superintendents Superior Craftsman Award.