Shipyard Apprentices Upgrading Careers

Wednesday - October 04, 2006
By MidWeek Staff
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Former auto mechanic Cedric Yogi is now qualified to be an air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanic in the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

The Mililani resident graduated recently from the shipyard’s highly touted, 4-year apprentice program, designed to bolster its aging civilian work force with younger talent. The Class of 2006 is composed of 102 skilled journeymen - and women - representing 18 trades.

“This job has really changed my life,” said Yogi, following the Aug. 4 ceremony at Pearl Harbor. It enabled him to buy a home, he explained, and his work schedule also allowed him time to coach a high school wrestling team.

Two of his Mililani classmates also excelled: Jeremie Talamo trained as a fabric worker, and Devin Paiva won the outstanding craftsman award for marine machinery mechanics.

“When we hired them, they were the best of the best, and they still are,” said Brendan Cravalho, a crane resource manager for the shipyard who also lives in Mililani.

The program is a partnership between the shipyard, the U.S. Department of Labor and Honolulu Community College. The apprentices attend community college-level courses taught at the shipyard by HCC instructors. They earn an associate degree in the applied trades from HCC as well as certificates of their proficiency in ship maintenance. Ahead are journeyman positions paying about $26 an hour.

Yogi and his colleagues completed at least 7,200 hours of paid on-the-job work experience, along with academic and trades training.

Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard is the largest industrial employer in the state, contributing more than $550 million to the local economy in fiscal year 2005.

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