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    Sunday, June 23, 2024

    ‘Next generation’ celebrated at EB signing day event

    Grasso Tech senior Sophia Byrne, Structural Draft Learner Dept. 459, poses for a photo with Command Master Chief Josh Sturgill, with Team Submarines, U.S. Navy, and Emil Casciano, vice president of nuclear operations and fleet support at Electric Boat on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, during the Electric Boat Signing Day ceremony for high school students at Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School in Groton. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    High school seniors listen to one of the speaker Wednesday, May 31, 2023, during the Electric Boat Signing Day ceremony for high school students at Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School in Groton. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Grasso Tech seniors pose for a photo for a photographer Wednesday, May 31, 2023, after receiving their certificates during the Electric Boat Signing Day ceremony for high school students at Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Technical High School in Groton. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Groton ― Dayna Spencer, a senior at Norwich Technical High School, plans to pursue a passion she has had since middle school and work in the drafting and electrical design program at Electric Boat.

    “I’m definitely excited to start it because I’m pursuing what I’ve always loved,” Spencer said.

    Spencer was among about 165 graduating high school students who signed up to work in the skilled trades at Electric Boat in Connecticut and who were celebrated Wednesday evening at a Signing Day ceremony at Ella T. Grasso Technical High School. It was the second time EB had held the ceremony.

    The students went up to the stage in the school auditorium to receive a hard hat and a certificate and shake hands with Navy, Electric Boat and union leadership, at a time in EB’s history when the company is experiencing significant growth and is ramping up its hiring. The students will work as welders, electricians, pipefitters, painters, carpenters, shipfitters and outside machinists, among other jobs.

    The company has said its hiring goal for this year is 5,750 more workers.

    Norwich Tech is sending 30 students, or 19% of the graduating class, to Electric Boat; Ella T. Grasso Technical High School is sending 24 students, or 18.6% of its graduating class; and New London High School is sending 19 students, 11.5% of its graduating class.

    Locally, students from Robert E. Fitch High School in Groton, Ledyard High School, Norwich Free Academy, Lyme-Old Lyme High School and Stonington High School also are going to Electric Boat.

    Emil Casciano, the vice president of nuclear operations and fleet support at EB, told the students that they will be going through some incredible training at Electric Boat and will become world-class shipbuilders.

    Marco Giorno, a recent hire with Electric Boat, told the students that in his one year with the company, he has gained more knowledge, wisdom and hands-on experience than he could have ever imagined.

    “You are the next generation of shipbuilders who will be producing the most sophisticated piece of machinery used for the protection and preservation of our constitution, our government, our country, our people and our way of life,” he told the new hires.

    Speakers included union leadership representatives and educational representatives, including Ellen Solek, the executive director of Connecticut Technical Education and Career System.

    Many students raised their hands when CMDCM(SS) Josh Sturgill, command master chief, Team Submarines, U.S. Navy, asked students to raise their hands if at any time during their education they heard they could be successful only if they went to college.

    He said it’s not a truism anymore. He’s not sure it ever was, but the shipbuilders’ skills and knowledge will be in demand for their entire lifetime.

    Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, gave congratulatory messages through video, and remarks were read aloud from Danté Bartolomeo, commissioner of the state Department of Labor.

    Kylie Denning, 17, a senior at Westerly High School, plans to work in structural drafting design once she turns 18.

    “I did an internship with the program last summer, and I loved it,” Denning said. “I was offered a job and I accepted.”

    She said during her internship, she loved the program and met a lot of really great people. She described it as overall an amazing environment and workplace.

    Adam Chioccola, 18, a senior at Ella T. Grasso Technical High School, plans to be a welder at EB and get a few years experience, then potentially reach out to work at a different company, before returning to finish his career at EB. He said he’s glad he set himself up with a career in which he won’t have to worry about what he will do after graduation.

    “I’m excited to go support the U.S. and be the next step in history,” he added.

    k.drelich@theday.com

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