By Taeler Javier
Ka La staff writer
Joshua Javier, 24, is a man who commands the room, not with his 5-foot-11 stature but with his personality. As a member of both the Filipino dance group Tekniqlingz and the Filipino Junior Chamber of Commerce, Javier is active within the community when he’s not working at the Pearl Harbor shipyard.
After graduating Kamehameha Schools in 2009, Javier went to UH-Manoa to pursue electrical engineering. However, after two years, he quickly realized that he was not on his desired path.
“I switched majors twice and I had felt like college wasn’t the right thing for me at the time. I just wanted to get started on my career,” he said.
Stephanie Javier, Joshua’s mother, suggested that he apply for the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Apprenticeship Program because “he was a very smart boy and he could pick up on things relatively easily.” Thus began the process of application.
Javier tells of a seven- to eight-month-long application process which consisted of a test, an interview, and a physical exam. The process for him began in April 2012 when he, alongside the 3,000 other applicants, took the initial exam. After waiting about four to eight weeks, those who passed were notified about the interview process in September, and, if successful, had a physical exam four to eight weeks later. Over the length of the process, the 3,000 applicants in April dwindled down to 150 men and women accepted into the program the following January.
The number of applicants is high for good reasons, Javier explained.
“They offered a set schedule, it’s a federal job, and they pay for your schooling. In addition to these benefits, there’s room for upward mobility, good pay with step increases, and access to certain military facilities like Bellows and Hale Koa,” he said.
Once accepted into the program, apprentices take courses at Honolulu Community College that are transferable to UH-Manoa should they decide to further their education there. Javier reminisced about taking courses in drafting, physics, and even American Studies, all of which were paid for by the federal government.
However, Javier said the real training didn’t occur until he was on the job.
When asked what a typical day is like for an apprentice, Javier said the day begins with an interactive briefing at 6:30 a.m. followed by working on assigned jobs until 11 a.m. After their half-hour lunch break, workers go back to their jobs and ensure that the area is secured and ready for the second shift by 2 p.m. However, these workers occasionally have training days, separate from on the job training, that gives them the needed qualifications to move up in ranks and pay grade.
As for advice for those who want to apply, Javier joyfully responded, “Even if you don’t make it the first time, keep trying because it’s a great place to work.”
By Taeler Javier