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    Thursday, March 30, 2023

    With EB hiring day, some accept offers on the spot

    Michael Gileau, left, of Moosup, applying for an Outside Machinist position, is interviewed by Matt White, General Foreman of the Outside Machinist Department, during Groton Manufacturing Hiring Day at Electric Boat on Saturday, March 11, 2023,. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    People wait to be interviewed Saturday, March 11, 2023, during Groton Manufacturing Hiring Day at Electric Boat. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Staffing coordinator Ashley McDonald, left, works with Commis Boggan of Montville, Saturday, March 11, 2023, on the boarding process after accepting a job offer as a pipefitter during Groton Manufacturing Hiring Day at Electric Boat. The boarding process includes getting a security clearance, medical screening, and pre-employment training. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Groton ― It wasn’t even 9:30 a.m., and Commis Boggan had already walked into the employment office at Electric Boat, shared his top choices for a trade, sat through a half-hour interview, accepted a job offer, and been informed of next steps.

    “Commis has accepted a position as a pipefitter,” an EB employee said as he brought Boggan to a cubicle to speak with staffing coordinator Ashley McDonald.

    “First off, congratulations,” McDonald said, before explaining that the onboarding process would take about two to three months and his anticipated start date is June 1. Her hope was for Boggan to be enrolled in an Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) class starting March 20 or April 3, and she explained next steps for a drug screening, physical and fingerprinting.

    “I’m one of those people that wants to make his life better, and I have children, and I want to make my life better for my children,” said Boggan, 44, whose kids are 4, 2 and 3 weeks. “My grandmother didn’t raise a fool.”

    The Montville resident has been working at the manufacturer Nordson EFD but said EB would be a big step up for his family and provide more consistency, adding, “There’s always going to be subs.”

    He was one of 176 people to attend EB’s Groton Manufacturing Hiring Day on Saturday, spokesperson Dan McFadden said, and Talent Acquisition Manager Anna Leigh estimates EB will have about 70 people who accepted offers from the day. EB is looking to hire 1,300 tradespeople in Groton this year, in addition to 1,500 tradespeople at Quonset Point and 1,400 engineers.

    McFadden said EB hasn’t hired this many people in at least 50 years.

    Leigh said most attendees are coming in as entry level and may not even know what they’re interested in, but information about careers is available in binders in the initial waiting area.

    The different trade options are outside machinist, inside machinist, shipfitter, pipefitter, welder and outside electrician. Leigh said the starting rate, for people with less than six months of experience, is $19.48.

    EB also has Walk-In Wednesdays and hiring events at the Westerly Education Center, but Leigh said this was the first one at the employment office and that other events are usually more structured, with pre-scheduled interviews.

    “What they’re looking for is basic teamwork, people that are flexible in the learning process. They talk a lot about agility,” Leigh said about the interview process. And the interviewers, who are mostly supervisors and general foremen, were also trying to get a sense of technical abilities and interests.

    After someone accepts an offer, they go through EWIB’s Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative, where classes take six to eight weeks on average.

    Jacob Amedzekor, a Norwich Technical High School student in the culinary program, said he’s always been a hands-on person growing up but hasn’t had the opportunity to use them. Amedzekor, 17, accepted a pipefitter position Saturday.

    Groton resident Vida Ali, 46, said she is a caregiver “and my job is varied; sometimes you have a job and sometimes you don’t,” so she was looking for something more stable. She was waiting for an interview with her uncle, Hubert Amejecor of Norwich, who said he used to work on health care and is a hands-on person.

    Mike “Bucky” Hustus of Montville was waiting in the same hallway, not to go into an interview but for his 17-year-old granddaughter to get out of an interview. He said she wants to be a welder, and on the drive to Groton, he talked to her about hiring.

    Sporting a USS Connecticut hat, Hustus talked about his 37-year career at EB (and about the shed he built since retiring a year ago). Hustus spent 27 years in the pipe shop and 10 years as an inspector, working in both nuclear and non-nuclear inspection. His father and brother served in the Navy.

    “I always had pride in my work, all the time,” he said, “because those are our guys out there.” Hustus added, “I hope we find young people that can carry that on.”

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