On this week following Veterans Day, we've heard a lot about how the difficulty veterans have in finding jobs after being deployed from the service.

But one of Mobile's biggest employers is lending a helping hand.

The company is Austal.

The shipbuilder has a Veterans Apprenticeship program that's helping veterans find work after they're finished their service.

Governor Kay Ivey came to Mobile Wednesday to meet the men and women who make up the all-veteran apprenticeship class at Austal.

There are 30 veterans in this current class who learn shipbuilding

Governor Ivey said, "Thank you to you wonderful workforce. Y'all are game changers and I'm grateful for the work that you do."

Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said, "It's a four year program, first two mostly classroom training, last two mostly on-the-job training and, then, they'll be an integral part of our workforce now and certainly well in the future."

The apprentices receive pay and benefits upon the start of their four year class and, once they graduate, they move to the production floor.

Army Veteran Chase Thornton of Saraland is one of the veterans in the program.

He said, "Not many people would think it would be a tough thing for a veteran to come out and actually get a job, but its pretty tough to find a job."

Thornton finished his service about two years ago.

He said, "I hope to make this a career and I hope to make this a lifetime job for me."

Others in the program spoke of it's benefits.

Robert Legg of Baldwin County said, "To me, this is the opportunity to create what I lived with for my time in the Marine Corps."

Elisha Wright of Dauphin Island said, "I get to serve my country again.  I was in the Navy for eight years active duty.  Now, I get to build Navy ships."

Austal officials say they advertised for veterans, and received a great response.

All content © 2019, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.

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