NEWPORT NEWS, Va., (Feb. 28, 2023) — HII’s (NYSE: HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division is harnessing the power of technology as it recruits the next generation of shipbuilders.
The Ray Bagley Innovation Lab is part of The Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School. The mobile laboratory includes stations that cover the various skill sets associated with all 19 trades offered by the school.
In use since 2021, the lab is part of the orientation process for new apprentices and affords students from K-12 schools the opportunity to explore shipbuilding trades and possible career opportunities.
“The Ray Bagley Innovation Lab allows students to experience the various trades used to build ships in a safe, controlled environment,” said Dr. Latitia McCane, director of education at The Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School. “The unique experience also helps breakdown preconceived ideas about construction trades. We don’t just build ships here, we build careers.”
The lab is intentionally mobile, allowing the workstations to move into the gymnasium, thus converting the gym into an actual work area. Portions of the equipment also leave campus for community events, such as supporting high school career days in the region.
On Feb. 17, the Innovation Lab was dedicated in honor of Ray Bagley, retired vice president of trades operations at NNS. Bagley retired in 2018 after serving the company for more than 43 years. He started his career as an apprentice painter and went on to work at all levels of production and construction leadership at NNS.
HII, Verizon and BayPort Credit Union all have provided financial support for the Ray Bagley Innovation Lab.
Funded by HII to train and develop the next generation of shipbuilders, The Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School offers four- to eight-year, tuition-free apprenticeships in 19 trades and eight optional advanced programs.
Accredited by the Council for Occupational Education, The Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School is certified to offer associate’s degrees of applied science in maritime technology in 26 educational programs. Through partnerships with Virginia Peninsula Community College, Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University, the Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School’s academic program provides the opportunity to earn associate degrees in business administration, engineering and engineering technology and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical or electrical engineering.
HII is a global, all-domain defense partner, building and delivering the world’s most powerful, survivable naval ships and technologies that safeguard our seas, sky, land, space and cyber.
As America’s largest shipbuilder and with a more than 135-year history of advancing U.S. national defense, we are united by our mission in service of the heroes who protect our freedom. HII’s diverse workforce includes skilled tradespeople; artificial intelligence, machine learning (AI/ML) experts; engineers; technologists; scientists; logistics experts; and business professionals. Headquartered in Virginia, HII’s workforce is 43,000 strong. For more information, visit: