Not so for
The 16-year-old from
The soon-to-be senior at the
"It's sort of a little adrenaline being in here," Pelletier said, realizing that he's working on a weapons system that's used in America's defense.
Pelletier is one of 27 people who are taking part in three separate internship programs at the submarine builder this summer: ones for high school students, military veterans and inner-city residents.
The interns will take part in a graduation ceremony Friday afternoon at the nearby
Delacruz was born in
"They told me there was an opportunity coming up for the internship," Delacruz said during an interview in his workshop at Electric Boat.
Before that, he had never considered working there. "I didn't even know the company existed."
Now, "I'm looking forward to a career in here," he said.
"If they don't hire this kid, they're all fools," said
The internship program helps recruit workers and, to a small degree, addresses the so-called "skills gap" in
"We are very sensitive to the traditional 'dingy' image of manufacturing jobs, and it is one of our goals to change that image," spokesman Rose said in an email. "The internship programs can certainly have an impact upon that. When the interns come into our plant, they work in clean, orderly shops; they see the advanced manufacturing technology that we have introduced to our processes, and perhaps most importantly, they experience the rigorous safety programs that we have in place throughout our facility. To the extent that they carry that image and message back to their schools and communities, that helps us change the image of manufacturing over time. A lot more work needs to be done in the image department, but this is certainly a help."
As far as the skills gap is concerned, the internship programs have a limited effect. The programs provide training -- two weeks in company classrooms, the rest of the summer working in the shipyard -- that will leave interns ready to work when they start full-time. But they don't address the larger question of finding qualified applicants.
"The skills gap is a very real thing that has impacted the hiring at Electric Boat," Rose said. "We have had to do a lot of additional training to address this." The company is also working with government agencies, such as the
You could have counted Delacruz in that untrained group before he started his internship in Electric Boat's pipe shop. Although he watched an employer do plumbing work at an earlier construction job, Delacruz said, "this is the first time having the pipes in my hand."
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