Updated August 2 at 3:11pm

Plenty of jobs, will workers follow?

By Rhonda J. Miller
PBN Staff Writer

Electric Boat’s plan to hire 650 employees this year at its expanding facility at Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown is a precursor to a massive ramp-up expected to more than double the current Quonset workforce of 2,800 over the next 15-20 years.

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



Enter your email to receive Providence Business News' e-newsletters
and breaking news alerts.  

MANUFACTURING

Plenty of jobs, will workers follow?

Posted:

Electric Boat’s plan to hire 650 employees this year at its expanding facility at Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown is a precursor to a massive ramp-up expected to more than double the current Quonset workforce of 2,800 over the next 15-20 years.

Meeting the short- and long-term hiring goals is going to be a “challenge,” admitted Craig Sipe, Electric Boat’s senior human resources manager at Quonset, where he has worked for 14 of his 34 years with the shipbuilder.

The educational pipeline for welders, shipfitters, electricians and pipefitters has shrunk with the increasing focus on technology in the decades since Electric Boat’s hiring wave in the 1970s and 1980s – the last wave that was as large as the company’s current employment surge.

“When we hired at this magnitude before, there was much more of a vocational structure in the country, more literacy in the trades, things like shop math,” said Sipe. “Now there are not that many people skilled in the trades out there. We’ve hired as many as we can find, so we expect most of the applicants to be entry level.”

A high school diploma, including a GED, is preferred, but not required, for the vast majority of those jobs, said Sipe. But even for entry-level jobs, some candidates are just not workforce ready, he said.

“There’s a skills gap when these students come out of high school, but it starts way before that. Some of the kids we’ll be hiring are in third grade now,” said Sipe.

What’s missing?

“For some, it’s math skills or English as a second language,” said Sipe. “Most of these jobs require reading blueprints and understanding fractions and decimals. There are notes they have to read, in English.”

Electric Boat offers blueprint-reading classes on a voluntary basis and community colleges have programs to strengthen reading and math skills. But there are other basic workforce-development issues that make filling those jobs a challenge.

012714Page One, economy, economic development, workforce, workforce development¸ manufacturing, Electric Boat, Shipbuilding/Marine Advanced Manufacturing Institute, economy, economic development, workforce, workforce development, 28~43, ISSUE1272014EXPORT.pbn
Next Page

Comments

2 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
pcronin

This is more than a job for someone it is a huge career opportunity. These opportunities aren't readily available and should be ceased when they are. At Atrion we have a strong apprenticeship program built around technology. The candidates that have joined us with no experience have grown tremendously and look at it as like altering decision that they made for their future.

I encourage people to investigate the opportunities at Electric Boat.

Monday, January 27, 2014 | Report this
JonPolis

Just make sure that these employment opportunities are MADE AVAILABLE to those OLDER LONG TERM UNEMPLOYED RHODE ISLANDERS' who wish to TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM!!!....

Monday, January 27, 2014 | Report this
Latest News