Gov. Deval Patrick, left, Michael Tweed-Kent, vice pesident of mission integration systems, at General Dynamics in January.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Gov. Deval Patrick joined state and local officials, and hundreds of employees from General Dynamics on Tuesday at the company's Pittsfield facility to celebrate the addition of 108 new employees in 100 days.
The company, which received a contract from the Navy to help construct Littoral Combat Ships in December, expects to hire 500 new employees over the next five years to build, integrate, test and deliver the electronics systems for the specialized combat ships.
"General Dynamics has experienced spectacular growth in just 100 days and is poised for even more," said Patrick. "It is clear what this contract means for this company, its employees, and the Berkshires — jobs and opportunity for years to come."
General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems sought to hire 100 employees in the first 100 days of 2011 after getting the LCS contract last December. The company surpassed its goal and will ultimately be able to create 500 new high-tech jobs at its Pittsfield facility. The new jobs will expand the current work force by nearly 50 percent and support greater economic development opportunities for the entire region. The ships are estimated to cost $500 million each to build, and the Navy is seeking to acquire a fleet of 55. General Dynamics is responsible for designing the specialized combat ships' infrastructure and systems and completing the engineering work for the fleet.
"More than half of the new employees have been hired from inside Berkshire County. The other half is split between Massachusetts and outside of Massachusetts," said Michael Tweed-Kent, vice president and general manager at General Dynamics in Pittsfield. "I see this as a win-win — we are able to bring new individuals and families into Berkshire County and we are able to provide quality employment to the current residents of the Berkshires. In addition, we are reaching out to local businesses to establish working relationships with them as a way to be a force multiplier in positively impacting our local economy."
U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, D-Amherst, Mayor James Ruberto, state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, and other officials also joined Patrick at General Dynamics to celebrate the milestone.
"We are thrilled to have Governor Patrick and Congressman Olver here celebrating with us today as it was due to their leadership that the team here at General Dynamics landed this important contract," said Ruberto. "The Littoral Combat Ship project is about protecting Americans at home and abroad while at the same time bringing hundreds of good paying jobs to Pittsfield. Governor Patrick said he would be governor of the whole state and he has certainly proved it with his leadership on this project."
General Dynamics, a market leader in business aviation, mission-critical information systems and technologies, ship-building and marine systems and land and amphibious combat systems, is one of Berkshire County's largest employers with more than 1,100 employees and more than $400 million in sales. General Dynamics is also a leading supplier of sophisticated defense systems to the United States and its allies. The company works closely with the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as intelligence, maritime and homeland security communities to deliver mission systems integration, development and operations support. The company routinely bids on federal contracts that boost local employment.
"I am so pleased that General Dynamics was able to hire so many skilled workers here in Pittsfield due to this new contract. These are high-earning, quality jobs that will contribute further to the economic recovery we are seeing here in the Berkshires," said Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli.
The Patrick-Murray administration's strategy has been to create jobs by investing in innovation, education and infrastructure. Officials say that is working because Massachusetts is creating jobs faster than most other states. With 19,500 jobs added in the month of April alone, the state's economy is growing at twice the rate of the nation's and the unemployment rate is well below the national average.
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