Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula is helping technical education today, after giving 107,000 dollars to vocational programs in Gulf Coast schools. Maggie Griffin, Ph.D, Superintendent of Moss Point schools, says, "This donation means we are able to expose our children to more opportunities to be more proficient in science, technology, engineering, and math." Moss Point schools received two of 25 large checks, funding hands on school initiatives in coastal Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana schools. Kristin Wilkinson of St. Patrick Catholic High School says, “They can allow our kids to continue to grow because we do junior high up to high school, so this is something they do for five to six years.” Ingalls has given away more than half a million dollars in the last five years to invest in what they call ‘human capital’.
Irwin Edenzon, the President of Ingalls Shipbuilding, says, “We need to start young with the kids in the community and make sure that they have the basic skills we need.” Schools apply for the grants, and a board selects the programs that best use S.T.E.M., or science, technology, engineering, and math in classrooms. Edenzon also says, “We'll teach them how to be an electrician. We'll teach them how to be a welder, but they need to bring those basic skills, and these programs help that.” Programs like the one at Resurrection Catholic School allow students to dissect animals using computer software. Terri Bailey of Resurrection Catholic School says, “The kids are able to get the hands on experience and will be able to go to the bigger schools and still have the background that they need.” Ingalls officials say investing in technical education is just as important as investing in cranes as shipbuilding becomes more complex and driven by technology. This is the sixth year for the Ingall's S.T.E.M. program.