Increased federal spending on submarine building this year will lead to the hiring of 1,350 employees in Connecticut by Electric Boat in 2017, for a net gain of 800 jobs, the company said Monday.
Some of the new employees will be taking the place of those retiring or leaving for another reason, but the EB workforce will grow, both in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
General Dynamics Electric Boat has about 14,500 employees at its shipyards in Connecticut and Rhode Island now.
But the company said more workers are needed to build two Virginia-class submarines this year, as well as work on the "Virginia Payload Module," a plan to lengthen the boats to add four large-diameter payload tubes, each capable of storing and launching up to seven Tomahawk cruise missiles. The new hires also will work on the design and initial construction of the new Columbia-class submarine.
The Navy last week moved forward on the Columbia-class, a nuclear ballistic submarine designed to replace aging Ohio-class subs.
Electric Boat spokesman Dan Barrett said the new jobs would be in engineering, design, shipyard trades, and support. The hiring projections were released at a legislative breakfast hosted by company President Jeffrey S. Geiger in Groton.
Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, who attended the breakfast, said "the sustained growth in hiring at Electric Boat is continuing to significantly boost the economy of our region and the entire state."
Courtney also said the increased hiring would boost business at "a statewide network of nearly 500 small parts suppliers and precision manufacturing firms that are growing along with the company."
Connecticut's senators, who also have worked to secure funding for the Virginia-class and Columbia-class programs, hailed Electric Boat's expansion plans.
"Connecticut will continue to remain critical to the defense industrial base for years to come, and today's positive outlook reminds us of the importance for robust job training to ensure that Connecticut residents are ready and able to take advantage of these good and growing job opportunities," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who also attended the breakfast, said, "Electric Boat said loud and clear today: we're hiring."
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