Pratt and Whitney's announcement of an expansion in Georgia is expected to be beneficial for the operation in Connecticut.
The engine maker, which is based in East Hartford and manufactures engines in Middletown, announced this week that it would invest $386 million in a new facility in Columbus, Georgia, where the company has had a presence for more than 30 years.
Ray Hernandez, a spokesman for Pratt and Whitney, said in a statement, "This particular expansion supports a specific, new technology need where the capabilities currently exist. The investment we are making will complement Pratt & Whitney’s production value stream in other facilities, including our Connecticut operations."
Pratt announced late last year that it would hire 8,000 new employees in Connecticut over the next decade, as it expects to double production of the engines it makes for commercial aircraft. The company currently has a 7,000 engine backlog it's looking to address.
State Representative Matt Lesser said he thinks any expansion for Pratt nationwide, does well to help the company's operations in Connecticut.
“They have more work right now than they know what do with," Lesser said. "They have an enormous backlog of orders and it’s important to do what we can to ensure that those engines are produced in Connecticut."
The company has similar partnerships in Georgia as it does in Connecticut with community colleges and vocational tech programs. In Columbus, the company has partnered with Columbus Technical College, while in Connecticut it's partnered with, among others, Asnuntuck Community College, Manchester Community College, Middlesex Community College, Goodwin College, and UConn.
Lesser said as long as those partnerships hold, the state should have a secure future with Pratt and Whitney.
“We need to do what we can to make sure our community colleges, our votech schools are helping expand that workforce and allowing them to continue their commitment to Connecticut.”