GROTON, Conn. (WPRI) — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh joined Connecticut leaders Tuesday in a visit to the General Dynamics Electric Boat site in Groton.
Raimondo and Walsh both toured the shipyard before visiting the apprenticeship program which is run by Connecticut’s Department of Labor.
The site has been the primary builder of submarines for the U.S. Navy for more than 100 years.
Raimondo says President Joe Biden’s job package includes a $48 billion investment in workforce development infrastructure, creating one to two million new registered apprenticeship slots.
Noting the high unemployment rates amid the pandemic, Raimondo said apprenticeships will be a key piece of “digging out” of joblessness since many jobs require a degree, credential, skill, or trade beyond high school.
According to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s office, 900 apprentices have worked at Electric Boat in the last 20 years.
Raimondo said investing in the country’s workforce is critical to giving American’s a shot. She noted that during her time as Rhode Island governor, the state invested heavily in worker training, apprenticeships, and community college.
“The secret to successful job training and apprenticeship is a partnership between labor and business, between workers and the companies that employ them,” Raimondo said. “And in that regard, EB is a model, and the work that the Secretary of Labor and I will look to expand.”
Later in the day, Raimondo and Walsh will host a virtual roundtable to discuss the Biden Administration’s investment in registered apprenticeships.
Employers and workers will be able to discuss how to improve these programs and administer apprenticeships most effectively.
On Wednesday, Raimondo returns to Rhode Island and will join Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss the role small businesses have in America and how the proposed American Jobs Plan and the American Rescue Plan will help back the country better than before.