QUONSET POINT, RI — On Monday, January 24, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will join General Dynamics Electric Boat (EB) for their annual legislative update meeting. The virtual event, hosted by EB President Kevin Graney, will provide updates on the company’s accomplishments during the past year and projections for 2022.
After leading the successful passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022, which authorizes over $13 billion for submarine research, development, and production, Senator Reed says that Rhode Island’s submarine workforce and industrial base are poised to see another uptick in hiring at Quonset Point in 2022.
With EB helping to build two Virginia-class attack subs a year as well as the Columbia-class, Senator Reed says more workers will be needed in Rhode Island to keep pace with demand. Last year, EB hired over 1,100 workers in Rhode Island and will announce 2022 hiring projections at the annual legislative meeting.
“EB has been ramping up hiring in Rhode Island and I expect that trend to continue. I will continue working to bring good-paying, sustainable jobs to Rhode Island. The additional jobs for tradespeople we are seeing now is the result of many years of work that led to increasing production of Virginia-class submarines and starting production of the Columbia-class strategic missile submarine. This has been an important victory – for Rhode Island’s workforce and the U.S. Navy. But we have to be vigilant to produce quality work and to keep the Columbia-class program, as well as the Virginia-class program, on schedule. Achieving success on the Columbia-class program will require that we support Electric Boat’s plans to make significant increases in the workforce both at Quonset Point and Groton. I commend the efforts that continue to put the right training programs in place so Rhode Islanders have the necessary skills to do this important work,” said Reed.
EB hired over 2,500 employees companywide in 2021, roughly two-thirds of them fitters, welders, machinists, electricians, and other skilled tradesmen. About 45 percent of these new hires were in Rhode Island.
Reed noted that in addition to submarine manufacturers, the additional work at EB also translates to increased jobs in other sectors. For example, EB recently awarded the contract for construction of a new $125 million building that will expand EB’s assembly and outfitting footprint for both the Virginia-class and Columbia-class programs.
In the FY22 NDAA, Senator Reed also led efforts to authorize $900 million in research and development funding for future submarine capabilities and $330 million for the expansion and modernization of the submarine industrial base. And through his work on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, he added $20 million in the FY22 Senate Defense Appropriations bill to support the workforce development pipeline effort (which includes partnerships with CCRI and Westerly Training Center) for EB and the submarine supply chain.