Hampton Roads is a hub for submarine manufacturing and the federal government is putting millions of dollars into getting a larger workforce to build the subs.
The Hampton Roads Workforce Council received $14 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to build up the pool of workers for the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base (SIB). There has been a major increase in demand for submarine construction, so the Navy is working to expand the maritime manufacturing workforce across the country to keep up.
The Hampton Roads Workforce Council will connect the shipbuilding and ship repair industries with training groups in the region. The funding will help add capacity at training facilities, market the industry in the Bay region, and connect veterans to maritime careers. Additional projects will include outreach to middle and high school students to sustain the maritime talent pipeline in the future. The $14 million in funding is on top of $10 million already funded to build more capacity at Hampton Roads institutions for maritime training and education.
“As global scenarios continue to stoke concerns around national security, we recognize the need for additional workforce solutions to support increasing demands of future delivery of Columbia and Virginia class submarines” along with sustaining current submarines, said Mr. Matt Sermon, Executive Director, Program Executive Office for Strategic Submarines. “The Hampton Roads region is a critical maritime center of gravity for our nation.”
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), operating at Newport News Shipbuilding, was awarded a $567 million contract in April 2023 to provide material and advanced construction for Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines. The first two submarines in the Columbia class are District of Columbia (SSBN 826) and Wisconsin (SSBN 827). Newport News Shipbuilding will also begin advance construction of the next five submarines in the class.
There is also an order for 10 Virginia class submarines at a cost of $24.1 billion and HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding is the partner yard in that program as well.
-Meg Walburn Viviano