Fostering Leadership through ACE

ACE = Academics, Craft Training, Extracurricular Activities

There aren’t many career opportunities like that of the BIW Apprenticeship Program. Even a national search might discover only a handful of employers that combine rigorous STEM education, exposure to high level cross discipline business operations, and craftsman quality training in a trade. At the end of the program, the apprentice graduate is well rounded and fills the need for the most rare and sought after type of job applicant in the economy: that of the college graduate with actual work experience.

Robert “Lincoln” Hull, President of Apprentice Student Association


The academic curriculum meets the rigorous requirements of the Maine Maritime Academy. College level classes are generally held on-site during the apprentice’s regular paid work hours, which are paid while taking classes. A normal academic week includes about eight hours of classroom instruction per week. Tuition, books and fees are paid by the company. When students are not in the academic setting (the remaining work week), they receive craft training and serve in essential areas within their trade.  Regardless of the trade, all apprentices are required to complete a STEM-related core academic curriculum consisting of 60 credits of instruction in the subject matter areas of technical mathematics, drafting, physical science and technical communications.

Sample Course Schedule and Sequence

(For Manufacturing Trades and Planning Technicians, excludes Marine Design)

Year 1 Fall

  • BIW CS201 Introduction to Computing 2 credits
  • BIW MA200 Labor History 2 credits
  • BIW MS105 Mathematics I 3 credits

Year 1 Spring

  • BIW MS205 Mathematics II 3 credits
  • BIW EG120 Mechanical Drawing I 3 credits

Year 1 Summer

  • BIW PS103 Physics I 3 credits
  • BIW EG250 Mechanical Drawing II 3 credits

Year 2 Fall

  • BIW ET206 Mechanics I 3 credits
  • BIW NA151 Shipbuilding Process 4 credits

Year 2 Spring

  • BIW ET306 Mechanics II 2 credits
  • BIW EG106 Confined Space Safety 1 credit
  • BIW HC113 Oral Communications Skills 3 credits

Year 2 Summer

  • BIW EG280 Basic Electricity 2 credits
  • BIW HC110 Business Communications 3 credits

Year 3 Fall

  • BIW ET235 Material Properties and Testing I 3 credits
  • BIW MA230 Organizational Behavior 3 credits

Year 3 Spring

  • BIW ET230 Strength of Materials 3 credits
  • BIW PS203 Physics II 3 credits

Throughout Apprenticeship

  • BIW OJT On the Job Training 12 credits

Trade Training

Apprentices are first and foremost employees of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. Serving in one of the programs, apprentices add value to our product line in everything they do. One factor that makes this apprenticeship program so unique is its model mentorship. While on the job, apprentices are assigned to a front line supervisor (FLS). Each FLS, typically a master craftsperson and an apprentice grad him or herself, supervises the apprentice on the job and acts as a mentor as they work to build the product alongside all other employees. Each FLS was selected among peers to serve in this capacity based on an ability to guide and motivate as a mentor. Although these FLS’s look and operate as supervisors on the shop floor, because they also serve the School, they are uniquely allowed to devote the strong focus toward the development of the apprentice. Besides the daily one-on-one guidance and transition assistance to the occupational community, the FLS evaluates and provides official performance feedback to the apprentice through a quarterly craft evaluation. In all, these FLS’s provide a valuable element of mentorship that so many new apprentices need to properly transition into a career. Those students selected for one of the optional advanced programs will continue academically for either a full associate’s degree or coursework towards a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

View Apprenticeship Programs