BIW sending recruiters to speak to millworkers

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PORTLAND — Representatives from Bath Iron Works are heading to Bucksport on Thursday to speak with Verso Paper employees about hundreds of job openings at the shipyard in trades requiring similar skills.

Matt Wickenheiser, Bath Iron Works spokesman, said a human resources representative and employees in the electrical and machinists divisions will host three information sessions Thursday for workers at the Verso mill, which is set to close Dec. 1.

“This year, we’ve hired roughly 400 tradespeople, and we still have a need,” Wickenheiser said.

The shipyard employs about 5,600 people and has more than 100 positions open for electricians alone. As of this week, there were another 27 openings for machinists and 20 openings for preservation technicians.

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The demand for electricians is partly driven by the attributes of the first-in-its-class Zumwalt destroyer that’s set to undergo trials in the spring. The ship has about 78.5 megawatts of electric generation capacity on board, enough to power about 60,000 homes.

Wickenheiser said that the shipyard also has shared information about those openings with the Department of Labor in seeking connections with workers laid off by Great Northern Paper in East Millinocket. However, the proximity of the Bucksport mill led the decision to host a special information session there. The company has made no specific effort to get in touch with workers in Old Town.

The session Thursday, which Wickenheiser said was set up in part by unions at the shipyard and the Verso mill, is just for Verso employees interested in work at the shipyard. Wickenheiser said Bath Iron Works expects to speak with about 210 of the Verso mill’s 500 employees across three sessions Thursday.

Wickenheiser said applicants can find job openings at Bath Iron Works at gdbiw.com/careers.

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