BREMERTON, Wash. –
In an event four years in the making, 229 skilled workers graduated from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility Apprentice Program during a ceremony held Sept. 23, 2022, at the Bremerton High School Performing Arts Center.
This year’s graduates represent 27 different trades and maintained an overall class GPA of 3.833. Each graduate received their certificates as journey-level mechanics in their respective trades, as well as an associate’s degree in technical arts from Olympic College.
Family members, friends, instructors, supervisors, apprentice program alumni and local government officials attended the ceremony, which is the first PSNS & IMF apprentice graduation ceremony to be held in person since the COVID-19 pandemic caused the last two ceremonies to be held as drive-through ceremonies.
“Completing this esteemed apprentice program is a monumental achievement for you—both personally and professionally. Especially when you consider how much of your time in the program has been spent dealing with a global pandemic on top of your day job, training, course work and personal lives,” said PSNS & IMF Commander Capt. Jip Mosman.
“The work you do is not easy, but every time we send a submarine, aircraft carrier or surface ship back to the fleet, we are telling our Nation, and all those who would threaten our way of life, that the best of the best have ensured these assets are fit to fight and ready to sail into harm’s way when called upon.”
Apprentice class speaker Chris Carter, a Shop 26 welder, told the class that graduating as journey-level mechanics is just the beginning of what they can all accomplish throughout their careers.
“As we transition from apprentice to mechanic, we face a new and wonderful reality,” Carter said. “A reality in which we have the power to shape our workplace and our community because, while this moment may signal the end of our academic journey, it is simultaneously the birth of unrestrained opportunities. The opportunity to challenge ourselves each day to be just a little bit better than the day before. The opportunity to make our voices heard. The opportunity to lead by example.”
Four graduates received special honors during the ceremony.
– Olivia Mausbach, a Shop 17 sheetmetal mechanic, was named the Apprentice of the Year by the program’s administration.
– Soonyong Kwon, a Shop 06 production machinery electrician, received the Scholastic Achievement Award from the Federal Manager’s Association, and graduated with a 4.0 GPA.
– Summer Borcherding, a Shop 38 marine machinery mechanic, received the Apprentice Craftsman Award from the Assistant Production Superintendent’s Association.
– Chris Carter, a Shop 26 welder, received the Leadership Award from the National Association of Superintendents.
Jim Jessup was inducted into the PSNS & IMF Apprentice Program Hall of Fame during the ceremony. His PSNS & IMF career started in 1968, before he graduated from the apprenticeship program with honors in 1972.
Over the course of Jessup’s 32-year career in civil service, he spent approximately 26 years working in the Apprentice Program helping hundreds of apprentices succeed during his employment. He held the assistant Apprentice Program administrator position from 1983 until 1991, and served as the Apprentice Program administrator from 1991 until his retirement in 2001.
Marie Pinkerton was presented with the Charles L. Derry Memorial Award, which recognizes the contributions of active faculty, staff or program supporters who have significantly impacted the apprentice program.
Pinkerton started her career at PSNS & IMF as a high school work study. She graduated from the apprentice program and became a Shipwright Mechanic in 1997. In 2006, Pinkerton accepted a job offer to become the Apprentice Program Coordinator and has held that position ever since.
The Apprentice Program Coordinator’s job is to work behind the scenes to ensure the apprentices have everything they need to be successful. Throughout her tenure, the apprenticeship has produced 3,393 apprentices.
The PSNS & IMF Apprentice Program was created in 1901, when the Shipyard Labor Board selected six men to train under skilled craftsmen at the facility. The program has grown to become an award-winning advanced training course for members of the shipyard team. Since 1950, PSNS & IMF has partnered with Olympic College for customized, accredited course work in support of the Apprentice Program.