GROTON, CT - I have the honor of leading the 15,000 men and women who build our nation's nuclear-powered submarines. Our Groton shipyard is bustling, with six submarines in various stages of construction. Later this year, we will christen USS South Dakota, the 17th Virginia-class submarine built by General Dynamics Electric Boat.
We are experiencing some of the busiest days in a generation at EB, but are challenged to hire enough workers. So we are taking steps to ensure we will have a skilled and job-ready workforce. These efforts can provide a blueprint for other employers and for potential partners at all levels of government.
Submarine construction is a unique form of manufacturing, requiring a high degree of skill in disciplines that include welding, pipe fitting and machining. Many of these jobs require a security clearance. Our submarines are powered by nuclear reactors and must operate in the planet's harshest environment.
Like many manufacturers, our labor force is aging. In order to build the submarines the Navy requires, we need to hire 14,000 employees over the next decade.
Through a collaboration with the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, training programs are matched with Electric Boat's needs to help get job seekers working in our shipyard quickly — a win for all involved. EB is developing a strong, consistent pipeline of talent, and Connecticut's economy benefits from a more qualified workforce.