Real Jobs Rhode Island: Pipeline to Manufacturing Careers in Shipbuilding

Rhode Island Pinnacle Award for Business Development Nomination: Real Jobs Rhode Island: Pipeline to Manufacturing Careers in Shipbuilding

Contact Information of Individual Submitting Nomination

Nominator: Scott Jensen

Email Address:

Agency Name: Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Real Jobs Rhode Island: Pipeline to Manufacturing Careers in Shipbuilding

General Dynamics Electric Boat (Electric Boat), a submarine manufacturing company and one of Rhode Island's largest employers, has steadily expanded in recent years and expects to create thousands of additional jobs in Rhode Island in the coming years. Developing a comprehensive solution was vital to supplying Electric Boat with the necessary workforce.

The "Pipeline to Manufacturing Careers in Shipbuilding" is a Real Jobs Rhode Island (Real Jobs) Partnership designed to meet Electric Boat's immediate and future large-scale hiring needs. The partnership strategy is two-fold: 1) build the foundations for long term workforce by expanding Rhode Island's high school career and tech (CTE) programs that provide graduates with genuine opportunities in shipbuilding; and 2) recruit, train and place talented Rhode Islanders from all corners of the state through an "Electric Boat Trade prep school" that opens wider the doors of an opportunity at Electric Boat.

To build the pipeline, the partnership expanded career and technical education programs in maritime trades and expanded the Electric Boat summer internship program.

Electric Boat and the Rhode Island Department of Education worked closely with the National Maritime Education council to develop a customized curriculum to be implemented in the new and expanded CTE programs. Approximately 500 students are currently enrolled in these programs.

The Pipeline to Manufacturing Careers in Shipbuilding Partnership is fulfilling Electric Boat's immediate workforce needs by: understanding the demand by trade; working with higher education providers to create adult workforce training programs; following a comprehensive recruitment strategy and implementing an innovative post-employment training model.


Statement of results, accomplishments, impacts and any other appropriate information that demonstrates why the nominee's efforts were an exceptional contribution.

The Pipeline to Manufacturing Careers in Shipbuilding has solved the shipbuilding workforce challenge of a major defense company that has frustrated other regions and for that reason threatened the nation's security. The partnership is a proven tool to meet Electric Boat's hiring needs; additionally, it has a 98 percent placement rate and a 30 percent higher retention rate than other means.

To date, the partnership has trained and placed over 1,500 people into employment at Electric Boat in ten separate trades. And when considering only new state income taxes, saving in unemployment benefits and increased consumption taxes, this unprecedented workforce investment pays for itself in less than four (4) years.

No matter its many other benefits, the most important aspect of The Pipeline to Manufacturing Careers in Ship Building is how it changes lives. Every Rhode Islander deserves a spot in their community's economic life. This work helps find people their spot, and so transforms lives. Success like this is hard to measure.

In conclusion, Rhode Island now has a CTE network geared toward one of its largest employers; and a track-tested, data-driven, pay-for-performance training apparatus built through Real Jobs and Electric Boat. Rhode Island can now responsibly invest in a proven means to get Electric Boat workers and Rhode Islanders good jobs.


Other significant contributions 

Innovative Framework: The Westerly Education Center (WEC) a higher education and workforce training entity of the Office of the Post secondary Commissioner, provides job training for Electric Boat in three trades. The center, working with public higher education partners, has offered training in Call Center and sales and healthcare. Additionally, the center serves as a satellite campus for local colleges and universities.

The WEC plays a critical management role with Electric Boat by coordinating the implementation of three maritime trades courses; facilitating conversations among the clients; handling the daily logistics; recruiting instructors and teacher assistants; purchasing course books and student supplies; serving as liaison troubleshooting the unexpected; and managing daily class activities for two shifts of students. The success of the WEC as a business development tool has led to the replication of the model in northern Rhode Island to ensure that every Rhode Islander – from Westerly to Woonsocket –has the opportunity to succeed.

National Impact: The partnership and Rhode Island state government have achieved a workforce solution for the defense industry at scale. This effort finds and trains a workforce more effectively and efficiently by tapping the power of collaboration and collective action. And, its "secret sauce" is replicable.


Examples of work