Workforce development funding essential for economy, national security

THE PRIVATE-SECTOR ship repair and shipbuilding industry contributes more than $6 billion to Virginia’s economy, providing roughly 40,000 high-paying jobs and more than $2.3 billion in annual wages. Our workers earn an average annual income of $81,531.

These numbers are significant, and they illustrate the importance of Virginia’s ship repair and shipbuilding industrial base to our economy, work force and national security.

The Virginia Ship Repair Association represents 269 companies across Virginia, all of which have a hand in building and repairing ships, either as shipyards, subcontractors, suppliers or service support. These companies represent a crucial component of the economic health of the commonwealth and the country — but they cannot continue to effectively do so without a strong, stable, prepared workforce.

Parents and educators generally understand there are many pathways to career success and economic security — most of which do not require a four-year college degree. For many individuals, work in a trade is the way to happiness, prosperity and enormous personal success. Consider: Skilled trades workers exiting an apprenticeship typically earn $5,000 to $6,000 more per year than their college-graduate counterparts, and tend to do so without accruing the burdens of student loan debt along the way.

Click here to read Bill Crow’s complete column published on The Virginian-Pilot website. 

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