When eight high school graduates began work as Holtec International associates the end of June, they brought with them the skills that often only come with time and experience. But thanks to a strong partnership between several area Commercial and Technical Education (CTE) schools, these young individuals got a jump-start on their future and Holtec is reaping the benefits of expert tradespeople.

Left to Right: Jack Johnston, Director of Human Resources, Holtec International; Isiah Aviles; James Conlon; Fritz Roegge
President, Holtec Government Services, and Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Holtec International; Robert Anderson James Jones; Sherri Weatherley, Human Resource Generalist, Holtec International

These associates were hired through a new initiative called the Pennsylvania Talent Pipeline Project. Launched last year by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Navy, this workforce development program helps sustain and enhance the region’s maritime and defense industrial base by growing the inventory of qualified professionals through training, recruiting and hiring, at a time when the need for highly professional tradespeople is at its greatest. This is done by partnering CTEs that specialize in trade skills with area manufacturers who need new and qualified specialized workers.

Fritz Roegge (President, Holtec Government Services, and Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Holtec International) and Holtec Recruit Isiah Aviles

“The Pipeline has given Holtec a source of new talent, and what we have seen by visiting the CTEs and having students come and tour our facilities are young adults whose abilities are of the highest quality,” said Fritz Roegge, President of Holtec Government Services, and Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Holtec International. 

As a retired Vice Admiral of the U.S. Navy and the senior leader in Holtec’s Human Resources group, Roegge understands the importance of this initiative.

Jack Johnston, Director of Human Resources, Holtec International, Holtec Recruit James Jones and Joseph Williams, Father Judge Welding Instructor

“We have a responsibility to ensure that what the defense industry is providing to the Navy is of the highest quality, because, quite frankly, lives depend on it,” he said.

Through the Pipeline Project, about 30 Philadelphia area manufacturers found much needed talent within 11 high schools and colleges that have specific trade programs. All the manufacturers involved in the project provide parts, goods and equipment for the U.S. Navy.

Holtec representatives visited several schools to learn about their trade programs, and invited students and their instructors to visit Holtec’s state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Division (AMD) in Camden.

Eligible students were invited to apply for employment and had to go through the same rigorous application process as any other job candidate. For some, this included hands-on weld testing at AMD. Those who successfully passed the process were offered jobs at Holtec upon their graduation. These eight newest Holtec associates are graduates of Philadelphia high schools, including Father Judge, Jules E. Mastbaum, Benjamin Franklin and Randolph, as well as Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing (ATDM) of Virginia.

A little more than a year after the Pipeline Project was formed, a special Signing Day ceremony was held on May 25, 2022, at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. Here, each of the career candidates walked up on stage and shook the hands of the representatives that were helping them start their future. In the receiving lines were representatives from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Defense, the educators, and trainers from each CTE.  In the audience were friends, family and others cheering them all on.

Holtec welcomes Keyon Johnson, Kyle Wiest, James Jones, James Conlon, Logan Anderson, Isiah Aviles, Marquael Osbourne and Jiantian Deng.

Video feature about the Signing Day ceremony and Holtec’s newest associates.