Maine’s Defense Industry Joins Forces with U.S. Navy, Higher Ed to Accelerate and Increase Workforce Training

SANFORD, Maine – A coalition of Maine defense industries, the community colleges and universities, members of Maine’s congressional delegation, state agencies, and the U.S. Navy unveiled a new partnership today dedicated to attracting and training thousands of new employees for critical jobs in the state’s defense industrial base.

Maine’s largest defense contractors — General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Pratt & Whitney, and Navy-run Portsmouth Naval Shipyard — all need new, highly skilled employees. With broad support from the Department of Defense, the Maine Defense Industry Alliance (MDIA) will guide and support training initiatives across the state by building a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustainable workforce development system. Educational partners include the Maine Community College System, the University of Maine System, Maine Maritime Academy, and The Roux Institute of Northeastern University.

The Alliance is critically needed in Maine, where the defense sector employs more than 20,000 people at over 150 companies. Defense spending in Maine totaled $3.2 billion in 2021.
Over the next five years, defense contractors and the subcontractors who support them must significantly ramp up hiring, adding between 1,200 and 1,700 skilled workers each year. When including replacements needed for retiring workers and natural turnover, Bath Iron Works, Pratt & Whitney, and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard alone anticipate needing to fill over 7,500 positions.

The Alliance will focus on recruiting more people into the defense industry, delivering a wide array of training opportunities for those seeking employment in the industry, and upgrading the skills of the industry’s incumbent workforce.

The initial and most tangible outcome of the collaboration is $5 million in funding from the Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base (SIB) program, executed by BlueForge Alliance to launch MDIA and expand manufacturing and trade programs at York County Community College (YCCC) in Wells.

In addition to expanding existing programs, YCCC will build a 10,000-square-foot addition for a state-of-the-art welding lab at the college’s Sanford facility at 60 Community Drive, creating the YCCC Center for Excellence in Manufacturing and Trades (CEMT). The project is critical to expanding defense industry workforce development, allowing YCCC to train up to 1,500 people a year in a variety of trade programs.

YCCC will fund the $6.5 million project with $3.5 million in SIB funding for MDIA; $1.5 million in YCCC funds; and $1.5 million in federal funding secured by Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King through last year’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill.


General Dynamics is a global aerospace and defense company that offers a broad portfolio of products and services in business aviation; ship construction and repair; land combat vehicles, weapons systems and munitions; and technology products and services. General Dynamics employs more than 100,000 people worldwide and generated $38.5 billion in revenue in 2021. More information about General Dynamics Bath Iron Works can be found at More information about General Dynamics is available at