The Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding: Building tomorrow’s shipyard

Stretching the Point

Dr. Latitia McCane, director of education for The Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding, proudly points out the time capsule recently put together and sealed in July to be opened in 50 years on July 1, 2069. (Photo by Cathy Welch)

The Apprentice School in Newport News has been training men and women to work at Newport News Shipbuilding since 1919. While the school’s mission and guiding principles have remained the same over the century that the school has been in operation, other things have changed with the times. The greatest and most obvious change has been the opening of the new four-story building that houses all facets of the school, both academic and athletic.

Latitia McCane Ph.D., new director of education, says, “The new building has been a great asset for the school. Enrollment has grown to 850 students and the rate of graduation is the highest it’s ever been.” McCane has been at the Apprentice School since 2018, having previously worked at several colleges in Alabama.

McCane is proud that The Apprentice School (AS) now partners with the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and Old Dominion University (ODU), offering a bachelor’s degree in engineering. “Students can use credit from classes taken at the Apprentice School together with classes from VCCS and ODU to ultimately receive a bachelor’s degree in electrical or mechanical engineering from ODU.”

An education at The Apprentice School is different from other colleges in several ways. AS students are paid to attend school, and they spend a great deal of time in the field. McCane explains, “Our students spend around three days out of the school week at the shipyard, and two full days here in the classroom at the Apprentice School.”

Apprenticeships are offered in 17 skilled trades, including courses in pipefitting, welding, machining and dimensional control technician. The school also offers five advanced programs including marine designing and advanced shipyard operations. McCane says that the academic path a student takes is based on the student’s interest and also on what kinds of positions and trades are in demand.

While The Apprentice School is proud to help residents of Hampton Roads find a rewarding and fulfilling career, it is also happy to bring in students from across the country. “We have students from 21 states outside of Virginia, and we appreciate what these students add to the school,” says McCane.

Like most schools of higher education, athletics are an important part of The Apprentice School. There are six Division III athletic teams including football, men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, golf and baseball. Last year the football team was thrilled to win against Oakland University for the National Club Football Association national championship in Wheeling, West Virginia.

When not working at The Apprentice School, Dr. McCane enjoys skating and spending time with her family. She also loves to travel and hopes to make a trip to Paris one day.

The Apprentice School
Address: 3101 Washington Ave.,
Newport News, VA 23607
Contact: Dr. Latitia McCane Ph.D.
Phone: 757-380-3809

About Christian Chance 17 Articles
Christian was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia, but has lived in the Shenandoah Valley, Richmond, Norfolk and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. One day he would like to live on the rocky coast of Central California, where the surf is plentiful. He is particularly interested in Latin American culture, which led him to major in Spanish at Old Dominion University. He is happiest when he is creating things with his hands, and he is slightly obsessed with music. So his idea of a perfect day would be creating something interesting in the metal shop with his ear buds in, listening to good music.

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