GROTON, Conn.—Submarine maker Electric Boat has run into a challenge amid its biggest hiring push since the Cold War: finding enough qualified workers in a small state crowded with defense contractors.
To locate new employees in a region where technical schools that once offered robust preparatory trade courses have shrunk, the Groton-based division of General Dynamics Corp. collaborates with local workforce boards. It also expanded its training budget and resurrected a dormant apprentice program as it seeks to fill jobs for welders, pipe fitters and machinists.
Anne Messerschmidt, who worked retail jobs for several years, recently joined the company’s apprentice program, lured by the prospect of career advancement and higher pay. The starting wage for Electric Boat apprentices is about $21 an hour, though it varies by trade. An employee who finishes the program can make about $30 an hour, also depending on trade.