Thursday, August 21, 2008

What clown did this weld?

Folks, you get what you pay for.
Facing a shrinking work force and lower employee retention, local shipbuilders are joining others in Louisiana and Alabama to support the Gulf States Shipbuilders Consortium in launching a job campaign.

The new work force initiative, which focuses on getting coast residents to rethink their perceptions of the shipbuilding industry, looks beyond filling openings temporarily and urges residents to make careers within the sector, program participants say.
There are about 4,000 shipbuilding positions that need to be filled in the tri-state coastal area, according to Dennis Fanguy, chairman of the board of the Gulf States Shipbuilders Consortium.
Next year, Northrop Grumman will need 300 to 400 more structural welders as ships enter stages of construction that demand the increase, Amis said, and by August he will need to increase the Gulfport yard's composite work force by 130.
"We could take to the tune of 75 to 100 of those right now," he said. "Pipe welders are a huge struggle for us."

Amis said the company is usually ready to hire any talented applicant, so it's hard for him to pin down an exact number of vacant positions.

He did note, however, that he could currently take 30 to 50 machinists, a group that employs mostly "older, seasoned employees who could retire in the next couple of years." Finding new blood to fill those vacancies will be vital to operations.
Northrop Grumman, which employs about 17,000 in its Gulf Coast operations in Louisiana and Mississippi, is in severe need of pipe welders, said Kevin Amis, vice president of operations.
This is pathetic.
Entry pay for these jobs is about $11 per hour, he said, and positions top out at about $19 per hour.
For the price they pay to have people like former CNO Clark absorb oxygen at Board Meetings, they could train, retain, and pay right craftsmen. That is what we need.

How much in the last decade plus have we heard of "outsourcing" or "we will have industry do it" or "contract that work out." Well, many of those guys were former Sailors who were trained and gained experience as Sailors. We don't train Sailors to do that work - time moves on -- and -- poof. No more machiniest, no more technicians, no one welding, or welding well.

Time to up your game folks. Cut out the Beltway Bandits and invest in the people that build quality to go in harm's way. You have been living off the excess of a decaying industrial base for 15 years now and you have to play catch-up.

Byron, over to you.

Hat tip Mike.

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