Newport News Shipbuilding 
Advanced level
Theme: Leadership and DEI

Girl Apprenticeship PoweR


Panel Discussion
Tuesday, Oct. 31 Location Code
1:45pm-2:45pm Huntington Convention Center TS/19



This content will not be available on-demand.

Join this interactive panel of apprentices and mentors as they share how women can be successful in manufacturing apprenticeships.


Gender diversity in apprenticeships is still low, with women making up only 9% of all active federal apprenticeships. Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School has been very intentional about hiring women since the 1970s. Its current enrollment is 14% women, well above the national average.

A panel of current apprentices and their mentors will share why women can be successful in manufacturing apprenticeships. Panelists will share their journeys and the barriers they had to overcome to thrive in a male-dominated environment. You will receive tips on hiring and retaining female apprentices and tools to grow your own female talent pipeline.


The Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding was founded in 1919 and is the preeminent apprenticeship program in the nation. The school offers four-, five-, and eight-year apprenticeships in nineteen shipbuilding disciplines and eight advanced programs of study.

The Apprentice School is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education and registered with the Virginia Apprenticeship Council. It offers apprentices the opportunity to earn college credit, receive competitive pay and benefits, and learn a trade.

The school is committed to fostering apprentices’ development of craftsmanship, scholarship and leadership. 


Latitia D. McCane is director of education for The Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, located in Newport News, VA. Named to this position in 2018, McCane is responsible for overall leadership, vision and strategic direction of craft training, academic delivery, student services, accreditation and recruitment for a student body of 800 in addition to staff and faculty. The school, founded in 1919, has produced more than 12,000 graduates with four to eight-year apprentice program certificates. The Apprentice School is a partner with Jobs for the Future (JFF) Center of Excellence for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Access in Apprenticeships. It was also recently selected by DOL as an Apprenticeship Ambassador. 


Natasha Diaz has been a craft instructor for five years for The Apprentice School. Diaz is a 2006 graduate of the school, where she was trained as an inside machinist and marine designer. She is in her 22nd year of employment with Newport News Shipbuilding and truly enjoys the opportunity to train and mentor the next generation of shipbuilders. Diaz oversees the Marine Design program, is a dedicated faculty advisor, volunteers in the pre-apprenticeship program, and assists with the innovation lab. Diaz is pursuing her master’s degree in human resources, staying true to her passion for helping others. 


Jamica Jones

Ashleigh Stukes