WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced a federal grant totaling $518,538 to help local shipyard J. Goodison Company purchase needed equipment, expand its workforce, and stimulate Rhode Island’s economy by creating additional opportunities for its vendors and subcontractors. The funds are being granted through the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) FY19 Small Shipyard Grant program.
The funds are being awarded several weeks after the Delegation sent a letter to MARAD Administrator Rear Admiral Mark H. “Buz” Buzby in support of J. Goodison’s application. MARAD’s mission is to promote and develop the Merchant Maritime industry of the United States in order to meet America’s economic and security needs and to increase the efficiency of the nation’s surface transportation system. The Small Shipyard Grant program was developed to increase efficiency, competitive operations, and quality ship construction, repairs, and reconfiguration in small shipyards across the United States in addition to fostering employee skills and enhanced productivity related to shipbuilding, ship repair, and associated industries.
Founded in 1999, J. Goodison Company is a veteran-owned shipyard that provides repair services to commercial and government vessels, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Coast Guard cutters. The company also services the U.S. Navy, General Dynamics Electric Boat, and Specialty Dining Services. As the lawmakers noted in their letter, in 2016 the company opened its shipyard in Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown and is currently home to the largest mobile boat hoist in the Northeast. The federal funding will allow J. Goodison to purchase portable diesel-engine driven welder generators, a portable dust collector, and other supporting equipment. It will also help the company to increase its workforce and provide more opportunities for vendors, stimulating Rhode Island’s economy.
“Rhode Island’s shipyards are among the best in the country. The Small Shipyard Grant Program helps these local businesses compete to build and service ships for the government and private sector, bringing more jobs and opportunities to the Ocean State and enhancing our domestic shipbuilding and manufacturing base. As always, this was a competitive process, and I commend J. Goodison for putting together a strong application,” said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee. In addition to restoring funding for the Small Shipyard program after it lapsed for several years, Senator Reed helped secure $20 million for the program in the 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
“Rhode Island’s world-class shipbuilding tradition is one of our most important competitive advantages,” said Senator Whitehouse. “I’m pleased to join Senator Reed in announcing that J. Goodison Company has been awarded this federal grant to expand its Quonset operations and support more jobs.”
“Improving Rhode Island’s shipyard facilities helps create jobs and grow the economy,” said Congressman Langevin. “I was proud to help secure this federal funding with my colleagues in the federal delegation, and I congratulate J. Goodison on its successful application.“
“Thriving shipyards like J. Goodison are crucial to our state’s economy,” Congressman Cicilline said. “Federal investments like this mean an increase in productivity and a stronger workforce not just for the company, but also for the state of Rhode Island. I’m proud that these funds will allow J. Goodison to reinvest in the Ocean State and continue its growth.”
"This grant will help give our workers the modern tools they need for the shipyard to provide faster and more efficient service in a safer, more environmentally-sustainable manner,” said Jack Goodison. “It is a win for the entire Northeast maritime community. We thank Senator Reed and the entire Rhode Island Congressional delegation for supporting this project and supporting our Quonset Point operation.”
Small Shipyard Grants are available to U.S. shipyards with fewer than 1,200 production employees. Over the years, Rhode Island shipyards have received over $5.8 million in grants from this program. Other small Rhode Island shipbuilding companies that have received federal funds in the past include Blount Boats in Warren, Newport Shipyard in Newport and Senesco Marine in North Kingstown.