$6 Million Federal Grant To Benefit Sub Maker

By:  Mara Lee
Hartford Courant

The federal government has sent $6 million to Connecticut to pay for training high school and community college students, and adults not enrolled in school, so that they will be ready for manufacturing jobs.

The Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline, which began with Windham County plastic factories, is now focusing on the needs of the Groton submarine plant. Electric Boat has told Three Rivers Community College and Grasso Technical High School how to design welding and sheet metal programs.

U.S Rep. Joe Courtney, who represents the region, praised the federal government for paying for this training, and predicted several hundred trainees would be hired by Electric Boat.

The marine division of General Dynamics had $700.8 million in profits on its sales in 2014; 58 percent of that revenue came from the Pentagon.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said in a press release praising the grant, "I'm proud to have worked so closely with the Labor Department, Electric Boat, and my congressional colleagues to make today's announcement a reality — it's a grand slam for workers and manufacturers across eastern Connecticut."

Electric Boat will pay into a training fund for each worker who completes the certificate, and could pass security clearance and drug testing at EB, but is not hired. That contribution is estimated at $75,000.

For pipeline graduates who are hired, EB intends to do six weeks of on-the-job training, and not ask for state money to subsidize those weeks. The Connecticut Department of Labor considers that a $2 million match.

Large companies are supposed to provide a 50 percent match for targeted training under federal rules.