SENEDIA Marks National Submarine Day with Call for Next-Generation Workforce

SENEDIA, a membership alliance for defense tech, talent, and innovation, will celebrate National Submarine Day on Monday, 11 April, with a call to action for the future submarine shipbuilding workforce.

The industry is facing a critical worker shortage, and in response, SENEDIA is ramping up training and career exploration efforts to engage the next generation workforce.    

“Careers in submarine shipbuilding are high-wage, high-growth, high-demand, and those who choose this pathway gain a deep sense of fulfillment and patriotism knowing they are supporting our submarine sailors and protecting our country,” said Molly Donohue Magee, SENEDIA executive director. “Our current submarine shipbuilding workforce ranks are not sufficient to meet the extraordinary—and growing—demand, and SENEDIA is committed to engaging, training, and expanding the workforce to move our industry forward on a path to stability and growth.”   

The Navy’s need for new submarines to add to their fleet is significant, with two Virginia Class submarines and one Columbia Class submarine being built every year for the foreseeable future. To help meet that demand, SENEDIA has a two-pronged approach that includes incumbent worker training for individuals already in the workforce and career exploration and on-the-job learning for future workers.    

“The opportunities available in submarine shipbuilding are exciting and rewarding and can put people on a path to security and success,” said Rear Admiral Scott Pappano, Program Executive Officer – Strategic Submarines. “As individuals, those who work in the submarine shipbuilding industry find hands-on work that is constantly changing and have the ability to explore and advance innovative new technologies. We take great pride knowing that our work makes an important difference to our national security.”   

Since launching their incumbent worker training program in August 2020, funded through the Department of Defense Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment Office, SENEDIA has trained more than 1,200 people—800 of whom completed the program in the last year alone. These individuals are employed throughout the supply chain, with a critical mass at General Dynamics Electric Boat, the epicenter of the submarine shipbuilding industry. Electric Boat alone plans to hire over 2,200 employees over the next year.   

Being part of the submarine shipbuilding workforce requires only a high school diploma or equivalent and provides a career with strong wages and outstanding benefits.    Carla Hall, a Marine Corps veteran who received training at the Westerly Education Center, RI, and is now a pipefitter at Electric Boat, calls the training “a lifechanging experience.”   

“You’re going to be able to find meaningful work; you’re going to be able to find a nice wage for you and your family; and you’re going to make lifelong friends,” she said.   

Jonathan Townsend, an Electric Boat pipefitter, also went through the program in Westerly. He previously worked in construction and landscaping but decided to pursue a career change when he learned more about the opportunities available in submarine shipbuilding.    

“I think the training program set me up to network and build myself up to where I learned the trade and where I could advance quickly,” he said. “I’m most proud about my role here because I’m building something in my nation’s defense. I’m building something that will protect my family and my nation for years to come.”   

To grow the pipeline of workers, SENEDIA continues to expand its high school and middle school outreach. SENEDIA currently works with career and technical education programs in Rhode Island and Connecticut, engaging more than 100 high school students each year to explore potential careers in advanced manufacturing and submarine shipbuilding. SENEDIA is expanding our outreach throughout New England.   

To learn more about submarine shipbuilding training opportunities, and career pathways in submarine shipbuilding, click here. Join SENEDIA on social media (Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn) to celebrate National Submarine Day using the hashtags, #CelebrateSubs and #BuildSubmarines.   

For more information on SENEDIA, please click here.

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