Camp College participates in grant to help women work in high-demand jobs

Published 5:18 pm Thursday, October 3, 2019

The grant from the Department of Labor will help women in the near future train in waterfront trades, like Precious Hall, from left, Felicia Ross and Alina Bennett who are training for outside machinist positions but not under the new grant. The ladies are drilling and tapping a hole for a bolt for the first time in the lab. — Submitted Wendy Harrison

By Wendy Harrison


Camp Community College will take part in a $500,000 grant that will help train 40 women to begin work in ship repair-related jobs, thus helping the industry and the students.

The Department of Labor has awarded the grant to the Hampton Roads Workforce Council’s Women in Skilled Careers program.

“We will partner to target this population and offer a comprehensive program, which includes pre-hire marine trade training programs,” said Workforce Development Director Angela Lawhorne. “At Camp, this program is outside machinist.”

The funding will help women who have been victims of abuse or trafficking, or who have experienced poverty or difficulty making ends meet. The grant will also assist the women with child care and transportation costs.

According to trades training instructor Hugh Gibson, prior to this month’s class, the outside machinist program has served 218 students since the last part of 2017.

“Women are just as capable of doing this type of work as anyone,” he said. “We usually have women who enroll in each session of our classes. During the last class, there were four women enrolled of the 10 students.”

The Outside Machinist program is an 80-hour two-week course that runs from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The students exercise math skills, handle precision measuring tools, hand and power tools, conduct drilling and tapping, and learn to identify components.

“This is just the beginning of their life’s work of training,” Gibson said of the outside machinist students. “This program is in partnership with the Virginia Ship Repair Association, so not only are we training for jobs at the shipyard in Newport News, but for all area shipyards. After completing this program, the students have a leg up when hired.”

Tidewater and Thomas Nelson community colleges will also provide shipyard repair training under the grant. Other partners of the grant include the Virginia Ship Repair Association, WHRO and The United Way.

WENDY HARRISON is the public relations specialist for Camp Community College. Contact her at