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Apprenticeship Case Study

Case Study: Colonna's Shipyard

Colonna’s Shipyard is a private shipyard based out of the historic Berkeley Section of Norfolk, Virginia, and represents the oldest continuously family-owned and operated shipyard in the United States. Started by Charles J. Colonna in 1875 at the age of 26 the company started as a pier-side repair service but just after two years, Charles had his own marine railway.

After 140 years of operation Colonna’s Shipyard continues to strive to create and maintain a space that invests in efficiency and productivity as well as keeping up with modern times by staying up to date technologically and employing the best and brightest while making sure to give everyone an equal opportunity within their workforce.

When we first started working with Colonna’s Shipyard, one manager was operating ten programs through a tedious and extremely time-consuming workflow consisting of paper booklets and email-based submissions. As you can imagine, this workflow was unsustainable and quickly led Colonna’s Shipyard to contact our team for help.

Recently, we sat down with Colonna’s Manager in Training and Development Programs Laportia Morgan to get her thoughts on how ApprentiScope has been instrumental in their push to modernize their Registered & Non-Registered Apprenticeship programs.

 

Laportia Morgan, Manager of Training and Development Programs

 

Colonna’s shipyard operates as a shipyard that specializes in the upkeep and repair of commercial ships. They mostly focus on commercial and government vessels that may need to be repaired with fixes that could include hull fixes, painting, and any other kind of annual upkeep and inspection a ship may need.

Laportia, who mostly deals with the overall management of their training programs, provided some insight into what their program looks like on a daily basis. At Colonna’s Shipyard, they work to enlist many different kinds of tradesmen including painters, welders, electricians, and carpenters making their program vastly diverse. As the Manager of Training and Development Programs though Laportia mostly deals with the apprentices who are seeking entry-level positions. Those participants will start their day around eight o’clock with on-the-job training hours which run until around four, after that, they will complete classroom instruction hours or Related Technical Training.

She then moved into the benefits of providing an apprenticeship program and why Colonna believes it is beneficial as they have had their program up and running since 1985. People in the industry who stay with their company are valued very high as loyalty rates remain highly important to companies in the industry. Colonna continues to see high retention rates due to the upward mobility within the company.

Throughout the years Colonna’s has partnered with local college Tidewater Community College for their apprentice program where apprentices spend part of their day learning about their trade from industry professionals and the second part receiving classroom instruction. One of Colonna’s main goals with this program was to provide alternate pathways to high education specifically when the participant doesn’t want to attend college. In this program, the apprentice will complete one on one training and months of simulation work as they work towards a certificate in their desired field.

Morgan comes from a recruiting background which plays a significant role in her job here at Colonna’s Shipyard as she knows the value of great technology in their pursuit to enlist the best and brightest for their programs. Morgan believes that when advancing and enhancing their program one of the biggest things they always look to improve on is their retention rates as their apprentice program tends to produce high loyalty rates making it a great way to fill their in-demand positions.

ApprentiScope has been working with Colonna’s Shipyard since 2019 and since then we have successfully streamlined & automated their Registered Apprenticeship management workflows. Our platform has centralized the tools they use for apprentice onboarding, OJT & RTI tracking, field performance evaluations, wage progressions, and compliance, which according to a former manager, saved her over 10 hours a week alone! Our software has helped their programs to flourish as it adds a digital space for apprentices to track all their hours, helps to further connect and involve mentors with their apprentices, and provides managers ways to seamlessly engage with performance reviews & compliance workflows.

Laportia described some of the perks she had experienced in her time working with us and our software stating,

 

“I think that any kind of program that allows me to eliminate spreadsheets or paper and pen is extremely valuable. I’ve found that eliminating the paper aspect of apprenticeship management has been great and gets rid of unnecessary time spent completing those tasks. One thing that I have been really impressed with is support. It’s always very easy to get in touch with someone whenever I have a problem, and someone always gets back to me within 48 hours of my request. Honestly, support is the most important thing for me. Everything is almost immediately solved when I contact support and at our company that’s very important to us.”

 

Finally, we asked Laportia if she would recommend using our software services to other companies and if so why?

She replied,

 

“I would & do recommend ApprentiScope! Based on my past experience and what I know we used to go through in the past anything that removes excel documents and paper has my immediate attention. On top of that, the great support and how easy it is to navigate and extract reports are all reasons why I think you all have a great product as all the tools and resources are there.”

 

Learn more at https://www.apprentiscope.com

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