Submarine maker Electric Boat plans to double its workforce in Rhode Island to build a new class of submarines, welcome news in the state with the nation's highest unemployment rate.

Construction is expected to begin in 2021 on a class of 12 ballistic-missile submarines to replace the current Ohio-class boats. It's a $95 billion Navy program.

The workforce at the North Kingstown manufacturing plant could double by 2028 to about 6,000 people. That is roughly the same number of employees who built submarines there at the peak of the Cold War.

Electric Boat says a high school graduate with no experience can earn $35,000 to $40,000 a year as a welder.

Rhode Island's unemployment rate is 8.2 percent. The national average is 6.3 percent.