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NEWS | April 27, 2021

Deliberate and Intentional with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Entry Three

By NNSY Public Affairs Office Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Deliberate and Intentional with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a monthly series written by Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Director Tarane Parker to share insight on Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY), its employees, and their journey towards being a more inclusive workplace. For more information, email Parker at


Part of becoming a more inclusive environment is through recognition and appreciation. Often times we may get to a point where we can overlook our future leaders because of the fast paced business of delivering ships and submarines back to the greatest Navy in the world. However, we must be committed to recognizing our future leaders and unlock their potential by showing them that we as an organization recognize and appreciate what they are doing daily. When handled well, appreciation makes people feel valued, admired, and inspired to work for a common goal. The workplace environment becomes an inclusive space where everyone is valued and engaged when a diverse group of people are all recognized and feel like they belong.

Recently, the DE&I Office, along with Public Affairs Specialist Kristi Britt, sat down with several of NNSY’s apprentices, ranging from first year to fourth year, and got their take on what it is like to work here and what has been their experience thus far pertaining to inclusivity. Here is what they had to say.


Kimberly Hall – Refueling (Shop 89) First Year Apprentice

“I’m a third generation at the shipyard, my father and grandfather both worked here previously. I needed something new and was told by my aunt that NNSY could be a good fit for me. So I applied and got in and have been loving every second working here.”

“When it comes to being provided opportunities to grow professionally, I do believe I have. What I like about my shop is that we all work together at our pace to get the job done. I like how our leads will come in and explain to you what you need to know. When we first got into the shop as apprentices, they provided us all with a mentor who walked us through the job step-by-step, teaching us everything from paperwork to procedure.”

“When it comes to sharing new ideas, our group may be a little different from others because we have set standards we must follow in order to perform our work safely and ensure the safety of others. But our leadership is very open with us about why we do things how we do them and if they have to tell us no they explain why that is. They are open to new ideas as long as we follow the standards in place.”

“I think the NNSY Apprenticeship Program is definitely a great opportunity and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a career. They really invest a lot in us with classes and training to help us become skilled tradesmen for the Navy. And there’s always something new to learn. I’ve had such a great experience so far and I’m excited to learn more.”



Jake Forrester – Marine Machinery Mechanic (Shop 38) Fourth Year Apprentice

“I came to NNSY because a lot of my parents’ friends worked here and had told me that there were a lot of opportunities for a career here. So I applied right after high school and here I am.”

“I think the shipyard is a great place for folks to be able to grow in their careers. I’ve found that they are very open with you finding the trade that best fits for you and will work with you to get the training you need to get the job done. We’re also encouraged to share new ideas and new ways to get the job done which I think is important. They want us to bring new ideas into the shipyard.”

“I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship program, especially folks who are straight out of school looking to start a career. They send you to school and you have a guaranteed timeline of what they’ll tell you will happen if you do what you’re supposed to. I personally have enjoyed the journey and look forward to what’s next.”

“I personally feel that we have a lot of great opportunities in the apprenticeship program and it’s up to us as apprentices to utilize these opportunities to the best of our abilities. I know there are some supervisors who will see folks who don’t necessarily have the drive and ambition to get the job done and do everything they can to encourage you to do better – others will not. So it’s important to try your best each and every day and learn all you can.”

John Colliandro – Rigger (Shop 72) First Year Apprentice

“I went into Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) after school and spent several years working jobs. But I wanted to find something new. Everyone would tell me that NNSY is the place to be so I wanted to be here.”

“On the job, I am always hearing folks say, ‘do you have any ideas for how to do the job better?’ They are very open to finding ways to innovate or improve. I personally don’t have a lot of new ideas to add but I’m excited to be given that opportunity. I know there are a lot of us apprentices who have something they could add or even others at the shipyard who are looking for ways to make things better.”

“I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship program over learning a trade and just going to work. I learned heating and air conditioning and went straight to work for years and you can get stuck in a career that you might not necessarily enjoy. Apprentices are valued here and they do invest so much in us. Plus you have opportunities to see what interests you and what best fits for your career.”

“The work life balance is definitely respected. I have two kids and am currently divorced so I get them every other week. I work as much as I can when I don’t have my kids and then the weekends I do have them it’s usually not an issue. They work with me as they can and they know if I’m available, I’ll be here.”

Mary Dorsey – Marine Machinery Mechanic (Shop 38) Fourth Year Apprentice

“I came to the shipyard because I needed something better than just doing child care. So I joined NNSY.”

“I feel like the shipyard is a place where there is room to grow. I am an outside machinist at this time but I’m looking for an opportunity either in accounting or information technology in the future as I’ve got a degree in accounting.”

“The apprenticeship program helps you to start off your career and learn what you do or don’t want to do. The program helps you get some of your classes done at Tidewater Community College (TCC) and you can start off your degree and build upon your future.”

“Where I’m at right now, we have work-life balance. I live in North Carolina and my children have appointments, soccer, and Girl Scouts happening nearly every day. I am always able to do things with my children.” 

Hung Billey – Pipefitter (Shop 56) Fourth Year Apprentice

“I thought NNSY would be a great career opportunity, something I could see myself doing twenty years down the line.”

“During my time here, my supervisor and those I work with have always been willing to help me and answer questions, especially in regards to paperwork and understanding the job at hand. If I have any questions, I know I have folks around me who are there to assist me and help me be the best I can be.”

“There’s so many opportunities in the apprenticeship program, especially for folks who are just coming out of school and don’t know exactly what they want to do. I feel like it helps giving you a sense of direction.”