Panama City, 21 September 2001. – The Panama Canal Apprentice Program held today the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2001: a group of 89 craftsmen fully qualified to occupy different Canal operations positions.

The Apprentice Program, established during the Canal construction era, has provided over 1,300 craftsmen to the organization since Panama Canal Treaty implementation in 1979.

“The demands of this stage in Canal history are completely different to the ones we had before. By providing knowledge and skills to the Canal employee, the administration prepares the workforce for the challenges associated to a profitable operation of the waterway,” stated Canal Administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta during the ceremony. To achieve this goal, “The ACP is developing a new organizational culture based on efficient resource and safety management, and the complete development of its human resources,” Aleman Zubieta emphasized.

While highlighting the role of the Apprentice School in the history of the Panama Canal, the Administrator indicated that the purpose of this program is to train over 3,000 permanent employees who are responsible for the daily operations of the Canal. “To this end, we have revamped the study plans for all trades to meet the strategic needs of the enterprise.”

“For the year 2001, modernization of the training programs entailed a $305,000 investment in advanced technology, including a hydraulics laboratory, a motor control center, digital circuitry training equipment, and an oil analysis system. Moreover, for the year 2002, an additional $180,000 will be invested in the acquisition of more advanced technology equipment for this program,” explained Aleman Zubieta.