Kittery, ME — U.S. Senator Susan Collins provided the keynote remarks at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s (PNSY) 2020 Apprentice and Worker Skills Progression Program graduation. The ceremony was arranged as a “Drive-In,” with the audience socially distanced in their vehicles. It was attended by approximately 300 PNSY graduates and their families.
“Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s inspiring history, from the days of sail to the age of the atom, is your inheritance. The bright future is one you will help to create,” said Senator Collins. “Just as PNSY has been called ‘the gold standard’ of America’s public shipyards, the programs you have completed are the gold standard of highly skilled workforce training.”
“Graduates—like the members of the United States Navy—you are serving our country. Your skill and commitment will help ensure that the brave men and women of our submarine force have the best possible boats to defend our nation and to return home safely to their families and communities,” Senator Collins continued. “Thank you for your service and congratulations!”
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is one of the largest employers in the Seacoast with more than 7,000 workers. The Shipyard Apprentice Program's Trades Apprenticeship and Worker Skills Progression Program train applicants in various skilled trades. The shipyard partners with York County Community College and Great Bay Community College to provide employees with the opportunity to earn credits towards associate’s degrees in Trade and Technical Occupations and Technical Studies.
As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins has championed federal funding for PNSY. She has repeatedly secured language in annual defense appropriations bills directing the U.S. Navy to continue to conduct its highly successful apprenticeship program at PNSY and the other public shipyards. Recently, Senator Collins secured military construction funding for the new consolidated Paint, Blast, and Rubber Facility, a Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Consolidated Warehouse replacement, and the Dry Dock #1 superflood basin project. Additionally, in this year’s Senate National Defense Authorization Act, Senator Collins worked to secure the authorization of the Multi-Mission Dry Dock #1 Extension project, which will ultimately result in $715 million in funding to expand and modernize Dry Dock #1 over three years.