From GED to Ingalls employment, Kosciusko native excels through Holmes programs

Pictured is Attala County native Matthew Moore, who was in the inaugural Ingalls shipfitting training program at Holmes and is now employed with Ingalls in Pascagoula.
Pictured is Attala County native Matthew Moore, who was in the inaugural Ingalls shipfitting training program at Holmes and is now employed with Ingalls in Pascagoula.

Holmes Community College began a new partnership with Ingalls Shipbuilding in 2018 and among those in the inaugural program was Attala County native Matthew Moore. This was not Moore's first time in a Holmes program, however; the 22-year-old first came to the college to earn a High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma. As a participant in the MI-BEST program, he not only took Adult Basic Education classes and earned his diploma, but also earned welding credits and completed the Ingalls shipfitting training program.

MI-BEST, or Mississippi Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training, is a program implemented through the Mississippi Community College Board that allows qualified applicants to take courses they need to prepare for the HSE diploma while at the same time training for a future career. Holmes offers Adult Basic Education classes in several locations in its district, and these classes are open to the public for those who have not completed high school or wish to increase their functioning level to enter college, training or the job market.

"I first started going to Holmes to earn my GED," Moore said. "Mr. Tommy Trussell, he really helped me out and helped me get it. Then they introduced me to welding, so I figured I would try it, and I really enjoyed it.

"I planned to start a career in welding, but then the Ingalls shipfitting program started, and I decided to go through it while still taking welding classes. I can say, all the teachers in both programs were great and helped me out a lot. It worked out that after I finished the shipfitting program and passed the exam, they offered me a job at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula."

Moore was so impressed by the program that he inspired his father, Alex Moore, to follow in his footsteps. Alex Moore began the 17-week program in the spring of 2019 and like his son, was offered a position upon completion.

"Overall, it was a great experience," (Matthew) Moore said. "If it wasn't for the Ingalls program at Holmes, I wouldn't be where I am now, I know that."

For the last 80 years Ingalls, the largest industrial/manufacturing employer in Mississippi, has pioneered the development and production of technologically-advanced, highly-capable warships for the surface Navy fleet, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps and foreign and commercial customers.

In the Ingalls training at Holmes, students learned basic safety, ship terms, blueprint reading, welding and industrial math tailored to specific needs of Ingalls Shipbuilding's operations. These skills could also apply to other career paths. Tim Townsend serves as lead instructor while Cham Blain teaches blueprint reading and Sara Williams teaches industrial math.

Ingalls aims to provide students with employment offers, contingent on successful completion of the course, as well as recommendations from Holmes staff based on class performance. Employment with Ingalls will include a number of perks and benefits, including a 401K, and opportunities for advancement within the company. Additionally, the company offers frequent attendance bonuses and a tuition-reimbursement program to allow employees to further their education while employed with Ingalls. To begin the program, a high school diploma/GED is not required, but preferred.

To learn more about the program, or learn more about enrolling in the spring 2019 cohort, contact Mandy Burrell at mburrell@holmescc.edu or (662) 290-0808. To learn about Ingalls Shipbuilding, please visit ingalls.huntingtoningalls.com.

To learn more about Adult Basic Education classes and HSE options, contact Adult Basic Education/HSE Director Earline Smith at esmith@holmescc.edu.

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