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Shipbuilding and Repair Career Day a Success

Approximately 600 middle and high school students from 20 different schools in Virginia, along with 50 teachers, attended the Shipbuilding and Repair Career Day at Old Dominion University on Feb. 21. The daylong event offered an educational and fun-filled environment for the students to learn about various career paths and opportunities in the shipbuilding and repair industry.

The career day event was divided into three major activities: 1) Industry Expo, 2) Hands-on Activities and 3) Shipyard Tours. More than 20 companies, government organizations and educational institutions took part in the Industry Expo. Companies included Northrop Grumman Newport News (NGNN), Colonna's Shipyard Inc., BAE Systems, MHI, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Technico and Earl Industries. Government organizations included MARAD and OSHA.

Industry professionals and government representatives talked to students about their products, services and career opportunities. The Industry Expo also included ROVR (virtual reality display) from NGNN. ROVR is a hi-tech tool used in ship design where designers can visualize their design in three-dimensional environments using virtual reality. In addition, educational institutions offering programs in marine engineering and technology provided information about educational pathways.

Hands-on Activities, organized by the Apprentice School at NGNN, gave students firsthand experience about processes used in shipbuilding and repair. More than 70 apprentices and teachers from NGNN guided students in performing welding inspection, drilling holes, cutting sheet metal, joining parts by riveting and wiring electrical circuits. In addition, ship design activities tested their creativity.

Students also were taken to working shipyards to observe shipbuilding and repair jobs. Tours were conducted throughout the day by two yards in Norfolk: BAE Systems Shipyard and Colonna's Shipyard. At Colonna's, students visited the machine shop, fabrication shop and dry dock, and observed trade activities. At BAE Systems, they visited a pier, dry dock, sheet metal shop and plate shop, and observed inside and outside machinists at work.

Upon their arrival at Old Dominion, the students were given a hardhat and an event passport. They were divided into different groups for the activities. A volunteer accompanied each group and guided the students through the Industry Expo and Hands-on Activities. The students had to visit at least six industry booths and participate in a similar number of hands-on activities to get their full complement of passport stamps. Two students won IPod Shuffles in a raffle drawing.

Based on feedback from the students and teachers, the career day was successful. Said one teacher, "The entire event was such a great learning experience that our classes and the whole school are still buzzing. We learned a lot."

Another teacher commented, "Career day was very well organized and filled with excellent activities. The students all had fun and learned a great deal about the marine industry."

This article was posted on: February 28, 2008

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.