Governor Gina M. Raimondo today announced that through a partnership with General Dynamics Electric Boat, six career and technical schools will be able to offer training to prepare students for careers in marine industries.
"We are committed to helping our students build the skills that matter to pursue the careers that pay," Raimondo said. "This initiative will lead students directly into careers in welding and electrical services, which will prepare them for jobs in ship-fitting and advanced marine manufacturing. Rhode Island businesses - now and in the future - need a talent pool of highly-skilled graduates ready to step into challenging careers."
"A year ago, Electric Boat began working with the R.I. Department of Education and the R.I. Department of Labor and Training to address its urgent employment needs," continued Raimondo. "I am pleased that Electric Boat has once again stepped forward to help Rhode Island students. They will support instruction in career-technical centers and schools, provide paid student internships on site, and work with their partners who are seeking qualified workers to offer students jobs at Electric Boat upon graduation."
"Partnerships between our schools and our business community will play an increasingly important role as we focus on preparing high-school students for challenging careers," Board of Education Chair Barbara S. Cottam said. "Today's announcement of the Electric Boat Partnership marks a major step in our efforts to align career-technical education with the needs of businesses, manufacturing, and industry in our state - to the benefit of all."
"This initiative represents the active roles Rhode Island, local school systems, and industry are taking to build the educated workforce required to compete and succeed in the 21st century," Electric Boat President Jeffrey S. Geiger said. "Our participation reflects the importance we place on training, education, and development. This program will benefit our company by providing us with the educated and motivated employees we will require in the coming years. They'll have the skills and tools they'll need to perform effectively at their jobs, as well as the means to take on future professional opportunities that offer greater challenges and rewards. We applaud Governor Raimondo, RIDE, and the Department of Labor and Training for their foresight in establishing partnerships with businesses like Electric Boat, which will provide Rhode Island students with the opportunity to develop valuable job skills in high school. We're excited by the promise this program holds for everyone involved, and we look forward to getting started."
Coventry High School has had the highest enrollment in the state in career-technical welding programs and has led the way in the transition to a new advanced welding and ship-fitting program, opening this fall with about 30 enrolled students. Electric Boat has agreed to open ship-fitting, machining, and manufacturing programs at six sites this fall - the Chariho, Coventry, Cranston, and Warwick school districts, the Providence Career and Technical Academy, and the William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School - for a total enrollment over the next two years of about 180 students.
It is anticipated that eventually about 350 students will graduate annually from career-technical programs in marine industries, as the programs expand to all career-technical centers and schools in Rhode Island.
A sector partnership led by Electric Boat, called the Pipelines to Manufacturing Careers in Ship Building, obtained $369,500 in funding through Real Jobs Rhode Island, Governor Raimondo's central job-training initiative. This was the largest Real Jobs Rhode Island grant awarded. With the funding, and with input from four employer partners and strategic partners, including RIDE, the Community College of Rhode Island, the New England Institute of Technology (Warwick), and Rhode Island College, Electric Boat and the R.I. Department of Labor and Training are embarking on one of the biggest planned hiring efforts in state history - more than 10,000 skilled maritime-manufacturing industry workers over the next 10 years.
According to Electric Boat spokesman Tim Boulay, students entering 9th grade this fall or in the fall of 2017 could be, upon graduation, among the 1,600 workers Electric Boat plans to hire in 2020 and 2021. At present, the Electric Boat Quonset Point facility employs 3,500 workers, and the company expects to employ more than 5,500 workers by the end of the 2020s.
Instructors in the ship-fitting programs will receive training from the Shipbuilding Marine Trades and Advanced Manufacturing Institute at the New England Institute of Technology (Warwick). All instructors will have certification in Maritime Trades from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (U.S. Department of Labor).
What they're saying:
"In meeting with leaders of business and industry, we frequently hear that Rhode Island graduates are not prepared to step into careers that demand specialized technical skills. The partnership Governor Raimondo announced today will ensure that Electric Boat and others in the ship-building industry will have a steady stream of skilled workers - which is good for our graduates and which will retain high-paying jobs in our state." - Daniel P. McConaghy, Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education
"It is imperative that our Career & Technical Education programs provide our students with the educational background and skill sets required to meet the needs of the high-growth, high-wage industry segments they hope to serve. An example of success in this endeavor is the Electric Boat partnership with the Coventry Regional Career and Technical Center and other schools and programs. This partnership will prepare upwards of 350 students per year for high-paying jobs in the marine industries. We commend this partnership and its success and look forward to a bright future for Electric Boat and the career-technical students the company will employ." - Al Lubrano, Chair of the RI Career & Technical Education Board of Trustees
"The Electric Boat Partnership workforce-development program is proof that secondary education, postsecondary education, and business can collaborate on a training initiative that supports the hiring needs of industry in a thorough and thoughtful manner. This training model can be expanded to help support the State of Rhode Island in future economic development initiatives." - Lisa Bisaccia, Chair of the RI Career & Technical Education Trust
"The success of our career and technical schools and programs depends on providing graduates with skills that will get them good jobs right away in a local business or industry. The Electric Boat Partnership can provide a model for partnerships between schools and other growth industries that will propel the Rhode Island economy in the years ahead." - Ken Wagner, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
"Developing a reliable pipeline of skilled, trained workers for businesses like Electric Boat is one of our state's priorities. This partnership, which will create a direct pathway from school to Electric Boat for hundreds of talented Rhode Islanders a year, and our Real Jobs RI partnership are concrete examples of the progress we're making." - Scott Jensen, Department of Labor and Training Director