Trade Students Compete in Project MFG’s Welding Competition During U.S. Navy’s Pennsylvania Workforce Pipeline Project Career Discovery Event

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Over the last 6 months, the U.S. Navy, Department of Defense (DoD)’s Office of Industrial Policy (IndPol), and the Philadelphia Navy Annex have joined with local defense employers and academic institutions to develop a program committed to building sustainable maritime and manufacturing workforce pipelines across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As part of these ongoing efforts to reinvigorate defense manufacturing, Philadelphia area students from career and technical education (CTE) programs will be competing in Project MFG’s first maritime-focused welding competition hosted at the Philly Shipyard Training Facility. In parallel, area students who are pursuing careers in disciplines like welding, machining, and electrics will have an opportunity to gain experience and exposure during Pennsylvania Workforce Pipeline Project’s Career Discovery & Recruiting Event. Next generation workforce members and defense business leaders will have the opportunity to discuss the critical trade skills needed for defense manufacturing; conduct tours of the Philly Shipyard, Rhoads Industries, and Philly Ship Repair; and hear from Rear Admiral Scott Pappano (Program Executive Officer [PEO], Strategic Submarines [SSBN]) and other Navy/DoD leaders on the future of Navy shipbuilding and importance of the American shipbuilding industrial base.

In May 2021, the Pennsylvania Workforce Pipeline Project launched a dedicated effort to coach small- and medium-sized employers on ways to improve their talent acquisition and retention by building talent pipelines from area high schools, community colleges, and CTE programs. This pilot program, funded under IndPol’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) Program, builds upon an economic development framework that aligns trade skill opportunities with critical workforce needs across academic, industrial, and government communities. The IBAS Program also supports Project MFG and their Clash of Trades reality show created to change the perception of manufacturing trades by highlighting the unique mission, stories of individuals entering the field, and imperative of retaining U.S. manufacturing capability and capacity.

"Project MFG elevates the next generation of highly skilled trade professionals in three ways. We attract top student talent by creating single and multiple technology competitions, we shape new narratives by sharing student stories, and we ignite investment so more students enroll in high-skill, high-tech programs," said Mr. Bill Ross, president of Project MFG.

The U.S. Navy and Secretary of Defense have more than $300 billion planned for investments in new submarines, aircraft carriers, and ships, over the next several decades. Pennsylvania is a maritime center of gravity with over 300 defense suppliers and more than 40 submarine and aircraft carrier "critical suppliers", which is more than any other state. "Our ability to grow and develop the workforce needed to build and sustain ships and submarines is the most important investment we can make right now. As we look towards our future defense and maritime requirements, people are one of our greatest strategic advantages, and a key differentiator in our ability to execute the mission," said Rear Admiral Scott Pappano (PEO SSBN).

The Pennsylvania Workforce Pipeline Project will energize the greater Philadelphia region and expand across Pennsylvania by mobilizing a defense-focused workforce pipeline designed to meet the current and future maritime demand for highly specialized trades. Ms. Adele Ratcliff, IBAS Program Director stated, "Project MFG is not only an exciting and technically complex skills competition, but a key enabler towards helping the Pennsylvania Workforce Pipeline Project grow skilled technical trade professionals in the Philadelphia region. This will have a major impact on overcoming existing workforce constraints and ensuring industry partners have the employees and specialized skillsets needed to execute the mission."

The maritime-focused welding competition include four schools from the Philadelphia School District, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, York School of Technology, and Lehigh Career & Technical Institute. Two waves of participants, each racing against a 2-hour clock will be welding to a design provided by the Navy, and will be cheered on by Navy, DoD, and defense industry partners. The day concludes with an awards ceremony recognizing the top student welders.

About Project MFG
Project MFG shines a light on the need and opportunities for skilled trades by focusing on the development of new talent to provide a path forward for individuals and our country. Project MFG competitions throughout the United States promote the trades across industries and help advance the next generation of highly skilled trade professionals. As an integrated workforce development and recruitment effort, Project MFG collaborates across academic, industrial and government communities to expand the U.S. industrial base workforce.

Project MFG is a program of the Global Learning Accelerator Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit, funded by the Department of Defense, and operated and managed by RD Solutions, LLC. The mission of the Global Learning Accelerator is helping people find the nexus between their passions and what the world needs.

Check out Project MFG and the Clash of Trades, please visit our website: Check us out on social: @ProjectMFG

Media Contact: Robb Yagmin at 913.908.0028 or email


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