GROTON, CT (WFSB) - The U.S. Labor and Commerce secretaries toured Electric Boat in Groton on Tuesday morning.
Gov. Ned Lamont joined Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at 9:30 a.m.
Lamont said they toured the shipyard and visited the apprenticeship program at the facility that is administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor.
“This apprenticeship program is a partnership between the Connecticut Department of Labor, our higher education institutions, and the business community, and it has a long and storied history here in Connecticut,” Lamont explained. “Programs like this are a vital part of the nation’s employment make-up, and an important resource to help provide workers with the tools necessary for in-demand jobs.”
The Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Training currently has 6,710 registered apprentices and nearly 1,700 employers that span 50 occupations. Over the past 20 years, 900 apprentices have worked at Electric Boat.
Electric Boat is growing. They are building a new 200,000 square foot assembly building on the waterfront for the future Columbia Class Submarine.
"We hired more than 2,000 last year and we'll do that again this year," said Kevin Graney, President of Electric Boat.
Other participants in Tuesday morning's event included Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Joe Courtney, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and General Dynamics Electric Boat President Kevin Graney.
“This pathbreaking apprenticeship program is our future,” Blumenthal said. “A federal-state partnership, it’s a win-win for workers and business – providing critical skill training for new jobs and exciting opportunities. Over the years, Electric Boat’s program has recruited bright and motivated minds, and turned job training into long-term, high-quality jobs for hundreds of workers. Their skilled craftsmanship creates the technologically advanced machines that make Connecticut proud and is the future of the submarine workforce.”
Electric Boat is touted as the primary builder of submarines for the U.S. Navy for more than 100 years.
“Marty and I are going to work closely together to continue improving and developing and expanding apprentice program and training programs because every American deserves a shot to get a decent job," said U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
Electric Boat has 300 employees in the apprentice program now, with in-class training for metal trades and design at Three Rivers Community College.
"We need to make sure that we create these programs so everybody can benefit from it," said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.
Holly Boyle of Groton has six months left in her apprentice program.
"It's been a great experience. I actually started as an administrative aid here at Electric Boat," Boyle said.
Those enrolled in the apprentice program are told they can expect to earn $240,000 more during their ship building career in trades such as welders, pipefitters, and designers.
"An apprenticeship enabled company to build that pipeline of skilled workers customized skills while apprentices learn a lucrative trade," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro.
The talent pool and training outreach begins in the regional high schools.