PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WALA) - Although there are plenty of Americans out of work, there are employers hiring. One of them being Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. Friday high school students got a look at what the company does.
Recent unemployment rate stands at 7.9 percent and Ingalls President Irwin Edenzon said they boggle his mind. They are constantly looking for skilled workers, and there aren't many out there.
Thursday, students got a look at those in demand positions.
The high school students came to career day at the ship yard with big dreams. One wanted to play in the NBA and another got into medical school.
In the company's gym, they were shown new possibilities. Ingalls is one of the largest employers in Mississippi, and Edenzon said they are growing.
"We're looking to hire 1,200 folks by the end of this year. And over the next year, we're trying to hire about 4,000," said Edenzon.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are an estimated 12.3 million Americans without work. A number Edenzon just can't understand.
"It's perplexing. We have work. We have jobs. Good jobs that pay well with benefits," said Edenzon.
Edenzon said the number of skilled workers has decreased in the past few years. Alabama even has a campaign called "Go Build" aimed at pushing people toward skilled trades.
"As a nation, we don't necessarily value skilled craft like we used to. We've created the impression that if you don't go to college, you're not going to be successful," said Edenzon.
Ingalls has plenty of options. A favorite among students was Eric Byrd's job, a commercial diver.
"Puts a twist on it and lets them know they can have a little fun with their career," said Byrd.
The event wasn't just about educating the students. It was also an opportunity to recruit future workers.
"We're looking forward to seeing these kids go back and think about what it would be like to work at the shipyard. And hopefully when they get out of school, put in an application," said Edenzon.
In order to build their workforce with the lack of resources right now, Ingalls has amped up its training programs and apprentice school. If you want to work, Edenzon said they will train you.
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