Electric Boat to add 450 new jobs at Quonset

General Dynamics Electric Boat has committed to adding 450 specialized jobs at its Quonset facility over the next five years and to spending more than $55 million on new infrastructure as part of the expansion of the Virginia-class nuclear submarine program.

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Director Sandra Powell called the hiring the “most significant” job creation by a single company in Rhode Island since the recession began three years ago.

All told, Electric Boat’s Quonset-based work force will expand from 2,000 to 2,450. But factoring in attrition, the company will take on close to 750 new employees between now and 2014.

This year alone, “we will hire about 100 experienced trade people, including experienced welders, pipefitters, sheet-metal workers and electrical workers,” Electric Boat president John Casey said at Quonset Monday. “These will be good jobs with good benefits.”

Electric Boat will partner with the state DLT to ensure that it finds and screens qualified Rhode Island-based workers, Casey said.

“It’s a good day for Rhode Island when Electric Boat is expanding,” Governor Carcieri said of the announcement. “I don’t need to tell you how important this [company and] this facility is” to the state.

On Monday, Electric Boat unveiled the first piece of its expanded infrastructure: a renovated $5-million, 65,000-square-foot warehouse at Quonset that was redone specifically to support the ramped-up submarine construction schedule.

President Obama’s defense budget calls for doubling production of the Virginia-class fast-attack submarines to two new ships a year. The new class of ships will replace the aging Los Angeles fleet, with a goal of building 30 in all...

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