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Apprentice Program




The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF) Apprentice Program is a successful partnership between the Shipyard, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Honolulu Community College (HCC).  Graduating Apprentices earn an Associate’s Degree in Applied Trades, and a certificate from the DOL.  An overview of the program’s history follows:

  • The Pearl Harbor Navy Yard initiated a new training program in 1920 with the hiring of two students to work and train as apprentices.  Dating back to the craft guilds of the Middle Ages, the apprenticeship concept had been utilized by the other U.S. Navy Shipyards for years, but was new to the Shipyard at Pearl Harbor.
  • During the first 12 years of the Shipyard’s existence, a ready supply of skilled craftsmen became increasingly difficult to find.  The obvious answer was to train local talent to become the skilled workforce needed to keep the Pacific Fleet “fit to fight.”
  • The Pearl Harbor Navy Yard Apprentice Program graduated its first apprentice class in 1924.  Apprentice classes in the early years of the program had only five to 15 members.  During World War II, the number swelled to hundreds of apprentices per class.  Since 1924, more than 6,400 men and women have completed the program.   
  • In the early 1940s, minimum wage was 40 cents per hour.  In 1945, the pay for a journeyman machinist was $1.45/hr.  By 1963, first-year apprentices were earning $1.99/hr., plus fringe benefits.  Today, starting pay as an apprentice is approximately $22 - $25/hr.  After completing the four-year program, new Shipyard “journeyworkers” now earn approximately $34 - $39/hr.  Other benefits include sick leave, annual leave, federal holidays, health insurance, life insurance, dental/vision insurance, flex spending options, Thrift Savings Plan, and a retirement plan. 
  • The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Apprentice Program is the ultimate opportunity to “earn while you learn” and make a decent wage.  The program includes full-time employment, hands-on training, and a tuition-free, Applied Trades degree from Honolulu Community College (HCC).  During the rigorous four-year program, each apprentice receives a minimum of 7,200 hours of training in three areas: on-the-job training; trade theory; and academic study.
  • Throughout their four-year apprenticeship, apprentices are guided through the program by their trade’s apprentice instructor and the Trade Apprentice Coordinator (TAC), as well as mechanics within their trade.  The apprentice instructors teach and mentor each apprentice in shop trade theory and practice.  TACs act as a direct link between the apprentices and shop management.  Apprentices, working alongside skilled mechanics within their shops, gain knowledge and experience to continue to keep the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard “No Ka Oi.”
  • The Shipyard’s Apprentice Program is and has always been known for developing skilled journeyworkers, but it also develops future leaders.  Many leadership positions in the Shipyard are held by former apprentice graduates.  Advancement opportunities include Supervisor, Instructor, Planner, and, ultimately, Shop Superintendent. 

TRADES:  PHNSY & IMF supports the 27 trade occupations listed below.  Openings in the trades vary from year to year.  Hired apprentices are tested and assigned to the trade in which they will specialize.

  • STRUCTURAL SHOP:  Sheetmetal Mechanic, Shipfitter, Welder
  • MECHANICAL SHOP:  Machinist, Marine Machinery Mechanic
  • ELECTRICAL SHOP:  Calibration, Electrician, Electronics Mechanic
  • PIPE SHOP:  Insulator, Pipefitter, Electrician, Production Machinery Mechanic, Toolroom Mechanic, Electronic Industrial Controls Mechanic, Air Conditioning Equipment Mechanic
  • COATING & SERVICES SHOP: Fabric Worker, Painter, Plastic Fabricator, Shipwright
  • TEMPORARY SERVICES SHOP: Electrician, Industrial Equipment Mechanic, Pipefitter, Sheetmetal
  • CRANE MAINTENANCE:  Electrician, Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic
  • QUALITY ASSURANCE:  Non-Destructive Tester (NDT)


ELIGIBILTY:  All prospective candidates for the PHNSY & IMF Apprentice Program must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be 18 years of age on or before start of employment
  • Have graduated with a High School diploma or GED equivalent
  • Take and pass the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) exam or similar exam      
  • Be registered for the Selective Service (Males born after December 31, 1959)
  • Be able to obtain and maintain a security clearance
  • Pass medical requirements  


Apprenticeship Opportunities
There are no apprenticeship opportunities at this time.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 What trades are offered for the apprentice program?

Students are selected for various blue-collar trades listed below:                                                                                                        

Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic - Installs, troubleshoots, maintains, and repairs air conditioning and refrigeration systems aboard submarines, surface crafts, and ashore to include, but not limited to chillers, refrigeration plants, dehumidifiers, and dehydrators. Fabricates temporary cooling manifolds to support repairs of shipboard systems. Accomplish vacuum and pressure tests of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration systems. Conducts operational testing of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration systems. 

Electrician - Construct, remove/install, test, troubleshoot, maintain and repair various electrical wiring systems and components, electrical controls, electrically-operated equipment or instruments; light and heavy electrical machinery. Install, maintain and remove temporary electrical and casualty control systems. May be assigned to shop work, surface craft, crane electrical, or submarine non-nuclear/nuclear electrical work.  

Electronic Industrial Controls Mechanic - Provides a comprehensive equipment maintenance program to ensure support needs are continuously met. Performs periodic maintenance; uses the latest technology to troubleshoot, repair, align and test Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) equipment throughout the shipyard such as mills, lathes, electric discharge machines and water jet cutting machines. Uses schematic diagrams and various types of test equipment including oscilloscopes, multi-meters and integrated circuit testers. 

Electronic Measurement Equipment Mechanic - Inspect, troubleshoot, repair, overhaul, modify, test, align, measure, and calibrate complex electrical/electronic/electro-mechanical/physical-dimensional/mechanical test instruments and equipment. 

Electronics Mechanic - Install, troubleshoot, repair and test shipboard electronic equipment and systems including radar, sonar, fire control, communications, and radio. Manufacture, repair, and test various sonar transducers and arrays. 

Fabric Worker - Plan, design, layout, construct, and install containments using clear PVC sheeting, herculite, and other flexible materials. Reupholster furniture, manufacture tool bags, banners, tents, leather articles, items of canvas, naugahyde, herculite and linen. 

Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic - Maintain heavy mobile cranes and equipment. Repair and modify combustion powered heavy-duty vehicles and heavy mobile equipment such as portal, truck, and floating cranes. Disassemble, repair, and modify heavy-duty engines, transmissions, and heavy-duty drive and brake systems. Troubleshoot causes of malfunction, and determine the best repair methods on complex mechanical, pneumatic, and hydraulic control systems. 

Industrial Equipment Mechanic - Overhaul, operate, repair, and perform operational maintenance and security checks on stationary equipment situated on various graving docks, floating docks, marine railways, and caissons. Equipment, maintained and operated, is located dockside or afloat. Equipment includes various types of pumps, flooding gates, flooding valves, capstans, winches, motor, and other related equipment needed to provide the necessary docking services. 

Insulator - Measure, fabricate, remove and install insulation materials on steam turbines, distillation plants, refrigeration plants, ventilation ducts, and other submarine or surface craft piping and component systems to prevent heat loss, to minimize condensation, and to protect personnel from extreme temperatures. 

Machinist - Manufacture and/or refurbish ship parts/components using machinery such as lathes, milling machines, boring machines, drilling presses, and computer numerical controlled machines. Disassemble, inspect, repair, machine, reassemble, and test components such as valves, compressors, shafting, pumps, and hydraulic equipment. 

Marine Machinery Mechanic - Involves the use of the latest technology to install, remove, test, overhaul, and repair the main propulsion machinery, pumps, valves, steam turbines, engines, pumps, and propeller shafts on submarines and surface craft. Optically align and test steam/gas turbines, internal combustion engines, reduction gears, propeller shafts, pumps, valves, auxiliary engines, masts and antennas, torpedo tubes and associated ordnance equipment, and other shipboard components. 

NDT Inspector - Perform Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) of welds and other components on surface craft and submarines. Use visual, liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, eddy current, radiography, and ultrasonic-testing methods to inspect work accomplished by welders, shipfitters, pipefitters, riggers, marine machinery mechanics, and machinists. Inspect existing shipboard components to determine if repair or replacement is required due to wear and fatigue. 

Painter - Properly removes contaminants from substrate prior to prep work with various degreasers and solvents. Properly prepares various substrates by abrasive blasting, power tool and/or hand prepping to remove corrosion prior to application of coating. Apply various types of coatings such as enamels, epoxy, powder coating and aluminum flame spray, to prepared surfaces by spraying, brushing and/or rolling to preserve the substrate from corrosion. All work is done to Navy Preservation Standards. 

Plastic Fabricator - Remove, layout, manufacture, and reinstall hull insulation. Perform Portsmouth plug encapsulation and pre-pots using polyurethane. Apply Plastisol coating to various metal items. Various rubber applications. Remove, layout, and install sound vibration damping tiles. Fabricate acrylic and polycarbonate plastic sheets and round stock. Install laminate composites to wood and metal items. Work with high pressure laminates. Prep, layout, and install Terrazzo, vinyl tile, rubber matting, carpet, and ceramic tile flooring on decking. Build wooden molds, work platforms, stairs, crates, and boxes. Work with reinforced fiberglass objects using fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin. 

Pipefitter - Remove, repair, install, test/flush, and silver braze piping to all propulsion, auxiliary, and weapons systems aboard submarines and surface craft. Manufacture, install, repair, maintain, and remove all ship-to-shore temporary piping services. 

Production Machinery Mechanic - Provides a comprehensive equipment maintenance program to ensure support needs are continuously met. Performs periodic maintenance, installs and removes shop equipment. Follows schematics diagrams/drawings to overhaul, troubleshoot, repair and test industrial plant equipment including mills, lathes, presses, compressors, generators and other wood working and metal forming/removing equipment. Equipment are powered by hydraulics, electricity, pneumatic, manual and other mechanical principles.  

Sheet Metal Mechanic - Reading blueprints for all sheet metal work.  Mechanic manufactures, installs, repairs and modifies ventilation systems, furniture’s, light gage bulkheads, lockers, stowage’s and doors on surface craft, submarines, and in the shop. Removes, installs, maintains, modifies and certifies temporary environmental control ventilation systems. Sketches and lays out utilizing an NX4 modeling system to program a numerically- controlled turret punch and plasma-cutting machine prior to manual forming. Manufacture various types of label plates using Laser and mechanical engravers on metal and plastic. Work with different types and thicknesses of metal including stainless steel, copper, monel, brass, carbon steel and aluminum. 

Shipfitter - Following blueprints, layout, fabricate, install, remove, and repair structural parts on naval ships and support equipment. Utilizes similar principles as a carpenter while working with Welders to assemble various types of metal plates, beams, angles, and pipes. Shapes materials to conform to existing ship structures. Work may require use of heavy presses, saws, drill press, and assorted pneumatic and standard hand tools (hammer, wrenches, etc.).  

Shipwright - Install, maintain, modify and remove all staging associated with ship work. Use transits and levels to establish working lines and reference points. Check vessel alignment during docking evolution. Construct docking blocks and shoring. Other work includes rough and finish woodwork, and building mock-ups. 

Tool Room Mechanic - Assures the proper quality tools are available to allow workers to safely, efficiently and effectively accomplish assigned tasks. Performs periodic maintenance, overhauls, troubleshoots, repairs and tests hand held and portable power tools and mechanical/electrical equipment. Inspects and maintains personnel protective equipment such as respirators and fall protection gear. Employs shop's standard operating procedures and operates tool rooms to issue such equipment along with various hand tools and precision measuring equipment. Maintains record, reports and conducts periodic inventories. 

Rigger - Select, install, and use cables, ropes and other weight handling gear to lift, move and position heavy loads in crane and critical rigging operations. Use complex multi-point suspension techniques to maneuver over, under, and around obstacles by tilting, dipping and turning suspended loads. Other duties include the fabrication, installation, testing, maintenance, and repair of standing and running rigging, wire cable, or fiber rope articles such as slings, towing bridles, and wire rope nets, lines and centering gear to control all ship movements within the dry dock. 

Welder - Join and cut all types of industrial and marine metals using complex welding and thermal cutting processes during the overhaul, repair, and modernization of surface craft and submarines. Join metals using Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Laser Welding, and Submerged Arc Welding. Cut metals using oxygen/acetylene, plasma and carbon arcing. 

 How do I apply for PHNSY & IMF’s Apprenticeship Program?

If eligible, applicants must apply online through USAJOBS.  Locate the announcement by using the "Search for Jobs" feature on the USAJOBS website:  

  • On the USAJOBS homepage, sign in or create password if one has not been created
  • Build/create your resume then in the “Keyword” block type "Apprentice", and in the “Location” block, type “Honolulu, HI”   
  • Open announcement by clicking on Apprentice vacancy
  • Click "apply online" button
  • On this page select your resume then click "apply for this position now"
  • You will be taken to the Application Manager program. Create a password, if one has not been created.    
  • Complete the required assessment questionnaire.
  • Upload and submit your printed copy of your HCC Placement Test results, and if applicable all military documents; All DD-214's, and if applicable SF-15 Form and VA Letter.    
  • Upon completion of your application package, you will receive a confirmation message with your vacancy ID number 
 How can I determine if I submitted my resume correctly?

Log into Application Manager, click on the job announcement for which you applied and it will state “completed.” 

 What if I forgot my USAJOBS or Application Manager username and/or password?

On the login screen there is a link “forgot user name or password”. Click on the link and it will prompt you to submit your email address. Follow the directions and you will be able to obtain your username and/or password.

NOTE:  The Human Resources Office (HRO) does not have access to your account; therefore, it is imperative that you keep this information for future use.

 Is a placement test required?

Each individual applying for PHNSY & IMF's Apprentice Program must take the OPM Wage Grade Performance Potential Assessment exam or similar exam. The test will be scheduled after the application period closes.

 How can I prepare to apply for the Apprentice Program before the job announcement is posted?

Potential applicants can set up their USAJobs account at any time. This is where the Apprentice Program job announcement will be posted and the location where we will accept applications. 

Within USAJobs there is also a saved searches function which will email announcements for search terms that are created by the individual. Saved Search Tutorial

Recommended search terms include: 'Apprentice' and/or 'Trades Apprentice' and for location: 'Pearl Harbor' or enter the zip code: 96860.

NOTE: These search terms aren't all inclusive nor do they guarantee that the Apprentice Program notification will appear in your email. However, individuals can also keep an eye on the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard social media accounts for the job announcement.  

 How many days is the Apprentice Program application window open for?

The Apprentice Program application window is typically open for 10 days. However, be sure to consult the job posting for application deadline. 

 What is the timeline and steps from submitting an application to starting employment, if selected, for the Apprenticeship Program? 

Below is the timeline without dates of what usually happens during the Apprenticeship Program application process:

1.  Application 

Applicants will apply through USAJOBS when job announcement is posted. The job announcement is generally open for 10 days (check the job posting for close out date).


2.  Survey 

A survey will be emailed to applicants who successfully completed the USAJOBS application.  Applicants must complete the survey or they will not continue to the next step.


3.  Assessment Exam

Those who answered the survey will be given testing information on where and when to take the exam via email.


4.  Interview 

Those who pass the test will be eligible for an interview. (Though not everyone who passed will be interviewed)

Applicants will either: 
1. Receive an email from the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Apprentice Program scheduling them for an interview, OR
2. Receive an email from USA Staffing stating they were not selected.


5.  Security and Medical Assessmen

Those who passed the interview will be subjected to a security and medical assessment.


6.  Final Job Offer 

Applicants who successfully clear all assessments will receive a final job offer from HR.  They must reply to the email, accepting (or declining) the job offer.


7.  Start of Employment

 Applicants who accept the offer will be provided a start date and information regarding their first day of work at Pearl Harbor as an apprentice.

 For those who are graduating from High School, would they apply before or after graduating in May during their Senior year?

For those graduating from High School, it would be up to them if they want to apply before or after graduating in May since the start date would be for the following year. Currently, for our Fiscal Year 2024 hiring, if they wait until after they graduate to apply, the next earliest announcement would be in 2024 for the 2025 hiring season. 

The would need to meet the following requirements prior to getting a final job offer:

1. U.S. Citizen

2. 18 years of age by first day of work

3. Earned High School diploma by first day of work

4. Pass physical exam

5. Obtain and maintain a security clearance 

6. Registered with Selective Service (males born after December 31, 1959)

 When are people notified if they would have an interview? How long after that are people normally interviewed?

Currently, people are notified about 3-4 weeks after the final completion of the exam. Interviews usually start about a week after the notification. 

 I'm experiencing a problem with the placement exam, who do I contact for assistance?

If you are having issues getting into the exam, your code is not valid or other issues with trying to take the test, you must reach out to the point of contact in the email you received from the testing company. 
*Do not call the shipyard as we can not provide technical support for the exam. 

 Will the shipyard be hiring on the spot again during career fairs?

1. The shipyard has NEVER hired "on the spot" for the Apprentice Program

2. We attend career fairs for informational purposes only. 

 During the first year, do apprentices work at the shipyard and go to school, or go to school only?

1. Apprentices work at the shipyard from day one.

2. Apprentices attend academic courses for one week a month (following academic institution semester schedule), at Pearl Harbor, for the first two years. 

 Who do I contact to find out why I wasn't selected for the 2024 Apprentice Program?

All applicants not selected for the 2024 class have been notified via email. Due to the volume of applicants, we unfortunately are unable to reply to your email or provide specific details on any particular individual’s application situation. 

However, some possible reasons you were not selected this year:

  • Did not reply to survey before deadline

  • Did not take required test during testing period

  • Did not achieve required test score

  • Was not selected for an interview

  • Not amongst the highest rated interviewees

Thank you for your interest in the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Apprentice Program.  You are welcome to apply again next year.  Please follow our social media accounts for announcements.  Consider monitoring USAJOBS - The Federal Government's official employment site for additional job opportunities.



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