POPLARVILLE – Completing the Pearl River Community College pipefitting course almost guarantees students well-paying jobs in the shipbuilding industry.
“There are a limited amount of schools that train pipefitters,” said David I. Cobb, a trade manager with Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. “We tested six Pearl River students (last year) and they did exceptionally well.”
Cobb was at PRCC Monday, July 22, to test students interested in jobs at Ingalls after completing the summer pipefitting course.
“They come in here with no experience and within 280 hours, they get a job,” instructor Joel Dickens said. “In a year, they are making over $40,000 a year.”
Entry-level jobs pay about $30,000 plus benefits with rapid promotion possible, Cobb said.
The Ingalls test includes a written exam and a hands-on test of the students’ skill in following plans.
“If they can meet our criteria, they can go to work anywhere,” Cobb said. “There’s a lot more to it than the average person knows.”
He expects Ingalls, which has shipbuilding contracts through 2023, to hire up to 200 pipefitters in the next year.
The fall semester pipefitting course at PRCC will meet from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, beginning Aug. 12 and ending Nov. 27.
The course offers an industry recognized certificate in pipefitting, including applications for a 10-hour OSHA certification and NCCER certification in the core curriculum of introductory craft skills, Level 1 and Level 2 pipefitting.
Applicants for the pipefitting course must have a Career Readiness Certificate rated silver or higher. CRC testing is offered free of charge at the Woodall Advanced Technology Center, 906 Sullivan Dr. in Hattiesburg.
The course fee is $250 payable by check, cash or money order on the first day of class. Students must provide a drug screen at their own expense during the first week of class. Applications can be obtained and fees paid by contacting Gloria Wasmund at 601-403-1241 or by going to the Career Education Building on Wildcat Drive on the Poplarville campus.
Todd Thompson, right, an assessor at Ingalls Shipbuilding, watches as Pearl River Community College pipefitting student Jeremy Mark of Picayune works through a fabrication test for a job at Ingalls.
PRCC Public Relations photo