Congressman Jim Langevin Talks about the SAMI program


Congressman Jim Langevin visited the SAMI program and wrote about it on his blog.  Here are his thoughts:

Here in the Ocean State, we have a long and proud shipbuilding tradition. Funded by a $2.5 million Department of Labor grant, New England Institute of Technology is continuing our maritime legacy with the Shipbuilding/Advanced Manufacturing Institute (SAMI). This program offers advanced training to Rhode Islanders, with a particular focus on the unemployed, displaced adult workers, veterans and recent high school graduates. Exposure to marine and manufacturing workplaces allows trainees to learn about career options, and how they can gain the skills necessary to succeed in those fields. They learn both inside and outside the classroom from high-quality instructors as well as industry professionals.

Rhode Island’s shipbuilding industry is inextricably tied to our defense-industrial base, which added more than $3.75 billion to the Rhode Island economy in 2013 alone, supporting over 33,000 jobs statewide. The peerless Virginia Class submarines are currently being built right down the road at Electric Boat, and construction is already beginning for the Ohio Replacement boats that will provide our nation’s strategic deterrent for decades to come. Current plans are for thousands of additional jobs to be created at the Electric Boat shipyard over the coming years, helping to maintain this strong sector of our economy well into the future. As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I will continue to protect this vital confluence of the best interests of our national defense and our local economy.

Unfortunately, in recent years, shipyards have struggled to find qualified workers, even as Rhode Island suffered from some of the highest unemployment rates in the country. This skills gap is a persistent drag on our economy, and I am working with my colleagues in Rhode Island, and in Congress, to address this problem.

In October, I convened a field hearing of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus in Rhode Island to discuss what can be done to increase apprenticeships and on-the-job training. Rhode Island’s education and business leaders were able to learn best practices from their German counterparts – long recognized as global leaders in this field. I’m very proud of the leadership that Electric Boat is showing here, and I look forward to working with other Rhode Island businesses to expand apprenticeship opportunities.

It is clear that a high school education will not provide enough critical training to thrive in the modern economy. That’s why I am so proud of what New England Tech has started here, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing graduates from SAMI contributing to Rhode Island for many years to come.


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