VT Halter Marine

VT Halter Marine

Mississippi Technology Alliance Meets Manpower Needs of VT Halter Marine


VT Halter Marine, a manufacturer of cargo and military ocean-going ships, is located in Moss Point, Mississippi. The company employs 410 people.

The Challenge

VT Halter Marine, one of several companies on the Mississippi Gulf Coast struggling with recovery from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, was suffering a severe shortage of qualified welders. The company contacted the Mississippi Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP.ms), a NIST MEP network affiliate, for help.

MEP Center's Role

The MEP.ms Center at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) developed a technical program to educate and train potential employees as high-skilled welders for VT Halter Marine in support of the company's pursuit of new shipbuilding contracts. The scope of this project included both pre- and post-employment training and certification of welders to meet both American Welding Society and stringent company requirements. As a result of MEP.ms' assistance, the company can now send individuals to their pre-employment training program, located at MGCCC, for the basic skills needed for employment. The program in turn will send the individual back to the company when the individual has acquired the skills needed for entry level employment. VT Halter Marine also has an in-plant training program in which they train and test new employees and support current employees in upgrading their skills. An (on-the-job training) instructor works directly with employees that need help in performing their job, an effort which has proven to be very beneficial in keeping new employees. The program has a success rate of 85 percent in meeting the manpower needs of VT Halter Marine.


• Increased sales by $367 million.
• Created 275 new jobs.
• Achieved a more competitive and profitable position.

“The capabilities and support from the MEP.ms Center at MGCCC is second to none. I have been in this industry a long time and have dealt with many training and engineering organizations over the years and you have the best system and people I have ever done business with. We couldn’t have won these important contracts without you.”
Jerold Shepherd, Director of Technical Training