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Celebrating its 10th anniversary, GSSC's 2017 Annual Conference focused on workforce trends and highlighted best practice workforce models from the region and other parts of the country while reinforcing the importance of collaboration and partnerships between industry and education.

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Celebrating its 10th anniversary, GSSC’s 2017 Annual Meeting was held April 11-12 in New Orleans. In keeping with this year’s theme, Industry and Education: Building Bridges to the Future, conference keynotes and sessions focused on workforce trends and highlighted best practice workforce models from the region and other parts of the  

country while reinforcing the importance of collaboration and partnerships between industry and education.

Highlights - Day 1


GSSC’s Board of Directors met the morning of the 11th. The meeting convened with lunch and a 10th anniversary video, a look back at GSSC's history and accomplishments, followed by the opening keynote by Emily DeRocco, CEO and founder of E3–Engage Educate Employ, a consulting practice focused on linking education, workforce and economic development assets for competitive advantage. DeRocco is the immediate past president of The Manufacturing Institute and served as the assistant secretary of Labor under the Bush administration. DeRocco’s remarks, Building a Strong and Steady Maritime Workforce is Both an Economic and a National Security Imperative, emphasized the critical need of a skilled workforce, discussed the challenges facing the industry, and advocated for a national workforce system. Setting the tone for the meeting, sessions that followed featured best practice models from state workforce systems in Alabama and Mississippi and regional and employer-driven initiatives designed with a singular focus–to work together to build the talent pipeline for the maritime industry.

Following Emily on Tuesday were: 

  • Nancy Martin, Training Specialist at Electric Boat. Nancy was instrumental in developing Electric Boat’s Pipeline Programs with local secondary and community colleges, as well as working with state leaders to secure funding to execute the strategic initiatives associated with the program. Her session, Bridging the Needs of Industry and Education: The Electric Boat Model, showcased how Electric Boat worked with the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training and state education leaders to establish the Pipeline to Manufacturing Careers in Shipbuilding,  to address the shipbuilder’s talent shortages.

  • John Laney, Senior Director for Workforce Development for the Alabama State Department of Education, introduced the group to the Simulated Workplace model during his session, Employabiity Skills Initiatives in Career and Technical Education.

  • John Havlik, Senior Workforce Development Manager with NCCER updated the group on NMEC’s national maritime workforce system and introduced the Hard Hat Heroes program, which is working to give veterans credit for training they received in the military and providing them with industry-recognized credentials, allowing employers to tap into this valuable talent pipeline in his presentation, NCCER Developments and Updates.

Highlights - Day 2

Shipbuilders Academy

Shipbuilders Academy

Play Video

2017 Navigator Award Presentation

Pictured L to R:  Ron Pierce, GSSC Chairman; Jeff Allman, GSSC Navigator Award Recipient; and Byron Dunn, GSSC President

GSSC's 2017 Navigator award was presented to Jeff Allman, Strategic Planner with Ingalls Shipbuilding. The Navigator Award is presented annually to an individual who has displayed outstanding leadership or made other significant contributions to the development of the maritime workforce.  "This year's award is well deserved.  When asked about his thoughts on the award winner, Byron Dunn said, "Jeff has been a steady and creative innovator in the area of workforce development and training.  He is a strong and energetic leader within GSSC.  Through his leadership, he is always challenging us to be better and to accomplish more as an organization."  Congratulations, Jeff!

The meeting featured good food, meaningful conversations, opportunities to meet with Exhibitors and Sponsors, plenty of networking opportunities, informative presentations and a few door prizes. 

Thanks to our Sponsors!

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