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Featured Article: Opportunities Abound

Opportunities Abound

On May 9, 2018, a Navy Lieutenant Commander and I escorted three First Colonial High School seniors to tour Lyon Shipyard in Norfolk.  This tour originated earlier this year due to my involvement with a newly formed 501 (c) 3 organization named “We Are VB”.  WAVB is committed to help the significant number of “homeless” (no permanent residence) students at FC experience as near a normal high school involvement as possible. 

One of the facts that motivated this idea for the tour is due to the fact that there is a shortage of experienced trades people in many shipyards and at the same time there are plenty able-bodied young people who have no intent or present hope of attending college.  How about an apprentice program where you get paid to learn versus finishing college with a debt the size of a home mortgage!  Wow! 

I called three different shipyards and Lyon Shipyard responded favorably by returning calls and being very supportive of welcoming the students.  Sabrina James in HR and superintendent Casey Tarnowski were extremely helpful and gracious, including an invitation to come again with another tour group.  Sabrina told us up front that they could handle up to 10 students, but our monthly meetings with our mentored students had ended and we were unable to communicate quickly enough.  We will begin the next school year to arrange tours at shipyards that would be interested in joining Lyon in hosting tours.

As a side note, the Lt. Commander I spoke of, Tucker Pavlik, a fellow mentor, was on a soccer team with my son that I coached when they were both age 4.  What a privilege to share time with him doing something that can possibly benefit young folks in ways we couldn’t imagine so many years ago.

My continuing hope is that going forward, we will have other shipyards participate in a program that could introduce deserving and capable young people to an occupation as part of the remedy to the shortage they are now experiencing.  At the same time, these young men and women could gain employment in a thriving industry right in their own backyard.

About The Author

Richard T. Harris has been associated with Sagemark Consulting since 1980 where he has developed a financial planning practice focusing on wealth accumulation and conservation and business succession planning issues and exit strategies. Throughout his 30 year career with Sagemark he has attained qualification for the company’s Chairman’s Council four times and President’s Cabinet twenty-eight times. His professional designations include: Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant and the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification.

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