GROTON, Conn. (AP) — General Dynamics' Electric Boat says its workforce continues to grow as it prepares to build a new class of ballistic-missile submarines.

The Day of New London reports Jeffrey Geiger, president of the U.S. Navy contractor, said Monday Electric Boat has 16,200 employees, the highest headcount in nearly 25 years. He discussed the company's future at a hotel in Groton.

The Groton-based company plans to hire 2,200 employees in 2018 in Connecticut and at its Rhode Island manufacturing facility.

It hired more than 3,000 people last year, after receiving about 81,000 applications.

Electric Boat is doing the design and development work for 12 ballistic-missile submarines to replace the current fleet of 14. It's building Virginia-class attack submarines.

More than $7 billion in federal funding was spent on submarine programs last year.