General Dynamics Electric Boat this week announced a long-term agreement with the state that includes a commitment by the Groton-based submarine manufacturer to more than double its Connecticut supply chain spending.
That commitment is part of an $850 million investment EB will make in capital improvements and workforce development as it ramps up to meet new and existing U.S. Navy orders for Virginia and Columbia-class submarines.
The state of Connecticut will provide up to $83 million in assistance in the form of loans, incentives, and training grants.
EB president Jeffrey Geiger said the state's investment was critical, noting the Navy "had real questions and concerns about whether or not the work can be executed given the significant increase."
"The message this sends is not insignificant, that the whole community up here is rallying around being able to ensure we can produce what the Navy needs," Geiger said.
"This investment provides crucial support for the workforce development and facility expansion that will help Electric Boat grow, increase its economic contribution to the region, and continue to deliver the world's most capable submarines to the U.S. Navy."
Under the agreement, EB will grow its Connecticut workforce by nearly 1,900 jobs to more than 13,000 by 2034 and more than double the $250 million it spends annually with its 700-plus suppliers in the state.
"Those are the businesses that supply direct equipment that goes on the submarines," Geiger said April 20 at CBIA's Connecticut Economic Update conference.
"We'd love to have more Connecticut suppliers. We need more Connecticut suppliers."
The message this sends is the whole community is rallying around being able to ensure we can produce what the Navy needs.
"This agreement is incredibly important for Connecticut's economy," Brennan said.
"It helps a critical employer keep production operations here, expands the manufacturing workforce development pipeline, and positively impacts hundreds of other companies and tens of thousands of workers across the state."
EB will use the state's investment for dredging and construction at its Groton campus—including a new dry dock—and purchasing machinery and equipment.
The company will also use an $8 million state Department of Economic and Community Development grant for expanded workforce development initiatives in partnership with community colleges, technical high schools, and other Connecticut organizations.
The company is currently piloting a three-year training program with the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board and several academic institutions, including Three Rivers Community College, Quinebaug Valley Community College, and Ella T. Grasso Technical High School.
"The goal was to get 5,000 people registered into the program, and two years into it, we're almost at 6,000," Geiger said.
"These are good, well-paying jobs. Some of the most advanced manufacturing work in the world is happening in Groton."
EB currently employs 11,000 people in Connecticut and 5,000 in Rhode Island and other locations.