As the sun slowly began its work in Connecticut, Joe Hughes, general manager for East Hartford Repair Operations, was excited with the job he had to do.
"I know when I woke up this morning, I was going to be doing something real special," Hughes said.
Hughes and several other Pratt & Whitney employees from East Hartford's Commercial Engines Aftermarket Operations visited Enfield's Asnuntuck Community College to discuss manufacturing growth – including aftermarket – at Pratt & Whitney and what it means for future machinists and welders hungry to start their careers. The visit was timed with manufacturing month, recognizing the importance of the industry to local economies.
"For us it's about making sure we are partnering with all the right technical schools. There's an industry that is growing significantly," Hughes said.
The company's need for employment expansion is a message that is gaining traction both in Connecticut and around the globe. But to showcase what it's really like to work for an aerospace leader is best told by those living it now.
"We're trying to get that interest out there. That knowledge, that understanding. Hey, you can work in manufacturing, you can be a manufacturer, you can be a welder, you can be a machinist, those jobs still exist," said Courtney Miller, supervisor, Special Processes Cell, Aftermarket.
"I think people are surprised when they come to Pratt how high quality the job is and how clean the shop is, and how organized it is," said Frank Hanrahan, process manufacturing engineer, Aftermarket.
Kurt Burkhart is one example of a new employee glad he accepted his offer to come to Pratt & Whitney. He's been a machinist for more than 20 years, and believes the timing for students couldn't be better. In fact, since the beginning of 2015, Pratt & Whitney has hired more than 250 production and assembly employees within our Connecticut operations and anticipate continued hiring in the state.
"A lot of the guys I work with, they're at the end of their careers. They're going to be retiring soon, and that tribal knowledge that's in Pratt needs to be passed down to new people to continue the good work we do," Burkhart said.
Good work – and a mountain of important work – soon to be in the hands of perhaps the very people Joe Hughes and his co-workers met today.
"There's a significant investment in capital, in technology, in innovation to be able to do things better, to do them much faster, to be able to do them cheaper. To accomplish that, we need people to run these new technologies," Hughes said.