Hawaii Governor Commends Pearl Harbor Shipyard for Support of Innovation Initiative, STEM

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PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle presented Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard with a state-level commendation for its “significant and enduring contributions” in support of her Hawaii Innovation Initiative.

The commendation was presented to the Shipyard at the state capitol Oct. 28. It was signed by both Lingle and Lt. Gov. James R. “Duke” Aiona.

The Innovation Initiative, announced by Lingle in January 2007, is an effort by the state government to shift the basis of Hawaii’s economic base from land development to human capital and innovation in processes, products and services. The initiative includes emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in schools.

In the commendation, Lingle praised Shipyard leaders, engineers and trades people who “enthusiastically encourage high school students to engage in … STEM education, providing them with the teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving skills they need to compete in the 21st century workforce.”

The governor said Shipyard leaders and volunteers have helped “to build a brighter future for our students, our state, and our nation at large.”

Lingle specifically praised Shipyard mentors for supporting 10 schools in various robotics competitions, such as FIRST, VEX, MATE Underwater, and FIRST Lego League. Three of those schools earned the right to compete in both the VEX and FIRST world championships.

Lingle also lauded the fact that, in 2008, the Shipyard established a robotics scholarship. The scholarship, awarded annually to one Hawaii high school student who has participated in robotics competitions, pays for four years of tuition, fees and books at the University of Hawaii College of Engineering.

Shipyard Commander Capt. Brian Osgood said, “We are deeply honored that Governor Lingle recognized our contributions to improving education in Hawaii.”  He noted that Shipyard statewide support of robotics is a “win-win” proposition.

“The Shipyard workforce includes about 600 engineer billets and many other jobs that are filled by upwardly mobile engineers, making us the largest employer of engineers in the state,” Osgood said. “We need highly capable engineers to maintain, repair and modernize the Navy’s high-tech ships and submarines.  Our support of student robotics programs is both an investment in the future of the children of Hawaii as well as in our national security.”

In a recent example of Shipyard support, five Shipyard Sailors mentored student cadets at a 12-week robotics program at the Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy. The program culminated in a robotics competition Oct. 31 in which Deputy Shipyard Commander Capt. Lawrence Hill served as a judge.

Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard is a full-service naval shipyard and regional maintenance center for the U.S. Navy’s surface ships and submarines.  It is the largest industrial employer in the state of Hawaii with a combined civilian and military workforce of about 4,900.  It has an operating budget of $563 million and infuses $700 million a year into the local economy.

Strategically located in the mid-Pacific, the Shipyard is about a week of steam time closer to potential major regional contingencies in East Asia than sites on the West Coast.

Submitted by the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. For more information, visit www.navsea.navy.mil/shipyards/pearl.

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