WARWICK, RI — Toll Gate High School opened Warwick Public Schools’ new Marine Trades Career and Technical Education (CTE) program Thursday, the result of a partnership involving industry and all three levels of government, and their representatives showed up to celebrate the event.
The $240,000 program is part of Rhode Island’s strategic workforce plan to develop skilled CTE students for high-wage jobs and careers with General Dynamics Electric Boat (EB) and many other companies in the Ocean State’s iconic marine trades and boatbuilding industries.
The program was formerly at Warwick Veterans High School. Now, in its new home at Toll Gate, the Warwick Area Career and Technical Center’s expanded Marine Trades CTE program has five state-of-the-art welding booths, a curriculum approved by the American Boat and Yacht Council and National Center for Construction Education and Research, and new textbooks. Currently, it serves 30 students, 22 from Warwick and eight from West Warwick. The program is open to public high school students from around the state.
As part of a pre-employment partnership with Rhode Island, EB has agreed to open maritime metalworking, shipfitting, and welding programs at Warwick and five other CTE locations — Chariho, Coventry, Cranston, the Providence Career and Technical Academy, and the William M. Davies Jr. Career and Technical High School — for a total enrollment of about 180 students this year and next. Eventually, it is anticipated that about 350 students will graduate annually from CTE programs in marine industries, as the programs expand to all career-technical centers and schools in Rhode Island.
EB’s Quonset Point facility currently employs 3,500 workers. The company expects to employ more than 5,500 workers by the end of the 2020s.
“Warwick is proud to showcase our new Marine Trades CTE program, which already is offering an engaging, hands-on, and directly relevant education to motivated students who will soon help Rhode Island meet the hiring needs of Electric Boat as well as marinas, boat builders, and other maritime-related employers in Warwick and throughout the state,” Mayor Scott Avedisian said. “Just as important, it gives Warwick a chance to say ‘Thank you’ to the many local, state, federal, and private sector partners who have helped make this life-changing resource a reality.”
“The training available through the Warwick Marine Trades CTE program will foster and support a highly-skilled workforce that will serve as the foundation for growth not only at Electric Boat, but at companies throughout the Ocean State. Students will graduate with the skills they need to work in an array of good-paying maritime and defense industry careers, opening up new opportunities for young people and putting them on an early path to success,” said Congressman Jim Langevin, who serves as co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus.
“I congratulate the students here today who raised their hands and stepped up to participate in this terrific program,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo, whose central job-training initiative, Real Jobs Rhode Island, awarded a grant of $369,500 to an EB-led maritime sector partnership that helped fund Warwick’s new Marine Trades module. “You’re getting real-world, hands-on training that Electric Boat and many other employers in the marine trades sector are looking for. I will continue to work with the best Congressional Delegation in the country and local leaders like Mayor Avedisian to keep investing in the potential of our people, in the competitiveness of our employers, and in building a diverse and resilient 21st century economy.”
“This type of education program offers students an opportunity to get a head start on a career and an excellent return on investment for employers and taxpayers,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee, who, along with his colleagues in the Congressional delegation, helped provide $5.25 million in federal funding to support the Governor’s Real Jobs RI initiative.
“The newly-expanded marine trades program at the Warwick Area Career and Technical Center is designed to give Rhode Island students the skills they need to land good-paying jobs in the local maritime industry, which is poised for growth in the coming years as Electric Boat ramps up submarine production,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
“All Rhode Islanders deserve the opportunity to find a good-paying job and we need to be preparing our high school students to compete in today’s economy,” said Congressman David Cicilline, whose Make It In America Manufacturing Communities Act would help Rhode Island compete for federal workforce training funding.