Lauryn-Mae Pang is a heavy mobile equipment mechanic
apprentice with the Lifting and Handling Department of the
Crane Maintenance Division at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.
The apprenticeship program is conducted in partnership with Honolulu Community College (HCC) and is
highly selective. To move forward with the apprenticeship application process, students must receive provisional acceptance to HCC.
“We have 5,000 applicants, of whom about 3,500 will
take the ASSET test [a postsecondary placement test distributed by American College Testing Corp. in April that
measures ability in reading, writing, math and aptitude
for various tasks.] From that, we’ll interview 1,000 candidates in June and July, trying to determine who will be the
right fit to go into the right trade,” Fogel said.
“Ultimately, we’ll select 100 to 150 apprentices who will
begin the four-year program, which starts in January. So it
can take as long as a year from when someone first looks
into the program to when they actually begin,” he said.
“The recession has also been a factor in making this
program attractive,” Watanabe said.
“They make it so easy to go through the whole
process,” Pang said. “All the tools are handed to you.
All you have to do is do it.”
After the application, physical exam, test and inter-
view, Pang said the hardest part was the waiting.
“Turnover is incredibly small,” Fogel said. “About
95 percent of each four-year class graduate. From a
class of apprentices that complete their four-year program together, about 60 percent of them will still be
working together when it comes time to retire.”
Dedicated to Training
The apprenticeship program recognizes that all people
are not equal in the abilities they bring with them.