GROTON — The president of U.S. Navy contractor Electric Boat says it's a terrific time to be building submarines.
Jeffrey Geiger shared a positive outlook when discussing the company's future at a hotel in Groton on Monday, saying the company expected to hire 1,500 employees in 2016 for trades, design, engineering and support positions.
"Connecticut has seen strong job growth over the past few years, and this announcement by Electric Boat is no doubt great news. We've done much to support our manufacturers as well as align workforce training to meet the needs of our employers. We know the economy is changing – and that state government needs to adapt with it. Nonetheless, this is clearly an announcement to celebrate and it will build on the already substantial job growth seen over the past few years," said Gov. Dan Malloy.
Geiger says funding for submarine programs--such as the Virginia-class submarine, Virginia Payload Module and Ohio replacement program--is projected to increase from $7.2 billion in the 2016 fiscal year to more than $8 billion in 2017.
He says the company has a strong backlog, with 16 submarines under contract. Ten are under construction.
Also, with 471 manufacturing suppliers across the state, a 5-year investment of $589 million is expected to go to those smaller companies.
Rep. Joe Courtney, who sits on the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, which oversees the submarine and shipbuilding programs, and also represents the area and was at the meeting, released the following statement:
The strong hiring outlook for Electric Boat this year will provide a profound boost to the economy of our region and the state,” said Courtney. “As this morning’s presentation clearly shows, the growth in investment in submarine programs over the last several years -- and more ahead -- is driving growth not just at Electric Boat and the southeastern Connecticut region, but across the state-wide network of suppliers and manufacturers that support this critical work. At a time when some question the future of our state’s economy, today’s news is a positive signal of the contribution that the hard working men and women of Electric Boat will make to the future of Connecticut.
The Groton-based company employs 14,100 people, mainly in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Employment is projected to grow to 18,000 by 2030 to build a new class of ballistic-missile submarines.
Geiger cautioned that his projections could vary slightly depending on budget decisions in Congress.
The company's sales topped a record $5 billion in 2015.