- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) - The state’s largest industrial employer is about to add employees.

The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard has announced plans to hire 731 workers this fiscal year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (https://is.gd/R3NZiz).

This will be a mix of 306 new hires as shipyard apprentices and others, including about 200 engineers. A job fair is planned Jan. 28, said spokesman Sean Hughes.

This new class of workers “significantly exceeds any number we’ve hired in recent history,” Hughes said.

By comparison, the most apprentices hired in a single year during World War II was about 200 workers, he said.

“Our plan to hire 306 apprentices this year is an historic increase,” Hughes said. “It’s the most we’ve ever brought on in one year in over a century of service. At the peak of World War II, we had a class of over 200, but nothing near or over 300,” Hughes said.

They normally hire between 100 to 150 apprentices a year.

The Navy is hiring at its four public shipyards to catch up on fleet maintenance.

“We’re hiring to keep up with increased workload (and) we expect this will help back-fill approximately 270 expected losses through retirement and other departures this year,” Hughes said.

The Pearl Harbor shipyard already employs more than 4,500 civilian workers in addition to more than 450 military members.

The new hires are high-paying jobs, with apprentices starting anywhere between just under $20 and hour to $31 an hour, depending on grade and education or experience of the worker.

Entry-level engineers will make between $47,000 to $60,000 a year, while those with more experience can earn $150,000 or more a year.

“This is great news,” said Ben Toyama, with the Hawaii Federal Employees Metal Trades Council. “The union is waiting to see what all the (job) numbers look like - in which departments and which divisions. We’re not going to find out for about a week or so.”

The shipyard is also looking to hire this year are information technology specialists, contract specialists and waterfront production employees and laborers.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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