NEIT marine, manufacturing training program sees success
THE NEW ENGLAND Institute of Technology on Monday celebrated the official launch of its Shipbuilding/Marine Trades and Advanced Manufacturing Institute, a job-training program that first began last fall and has helped 90 percent of its 100 graduates find jobs.
WARWICK – A marine trades and manufacturing job-training program funded with federal, state and Rhode Island Foundation money has trained 100 people to date, 90 percent of whom have found jobs.
Those were the numbers offered by Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, one of a host of politicians attending a Monday morning press conference at the New England Institute of Technology’s Post Road campus celebrating the official launch of the Shipbuilding/Marine Trades and Advanced Manufacturing Institute.
The SAMI program actually began last fall, but its success has resulted in labs now being set up to train welders and machinists, said NEIT officials said prior to the event.
SAMI is funded with $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor, $400,000 in two separate grants from the R.I. Governor’s Workforce Board, and $50,000 from the Rhode Island Foundation, making the program available at no cost to participants and employers, said Steve H. Kitchin, vice president of corporate education and training for NEIT.
The program has also allowed NEIT to make continued use of its Center for Technologies building for training instead of closing it down to expand in East Greenwich, said Avedisian.
“We are thrilled as a city to see that NEIT is growing by leaps and bounds and needs to reutilize this building,” he said.
Donnie Daniel Jr., of Warwick, who had been laid off as a heating and ventilation technician at Air Synergy in March, said he was grateful to the instructors in SAMI who trained him over eight weeks’ time to be a welder. Participating in the program led to an offer from Electric Boat for a job set to begin in August, Daniel told the crowd. The R.I. Department of Labor and Training staff directed him to the program, he said.
“I’ve never been involved with a program of this caliber,” said Daniel. “As I start my new position as an employer of EB in Rhode Island, I will always look back at the SAMI program as a turning point in my life.”
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said Electric Boat’s new $17 billion contract for submarines, the largest in the company’s history, led Electric Boat to a situation experienced by many employers in shipbuilding and manufacturing, where “demand drives training. Jobs that are there today,” he said, “will be there tomorrow.”
U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin praised the SAMI program for focusing on Rhode Island residents who are “more likely to stay” in the state as they retrain for employment. The program “fuels the workforce,” he said.
Electric Boat has made more than 20 job offers to SAMI graduates, added Sean Davies, Electric Boat’s facilities manager.