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JUST IN: 35,000 jobs announced thanks to tax reform

May 23, 2018

Hartford Business Journal

UTC will spend $90B, hire 35K by ’22

By Gregory Seay

May 23, 2018

The Farmington parent of Pratt & Whitney, Carrier, Otis Elevator and United Technologies Aerospace Systems says recent federal tax reform will unleash enough of its capital to hire 35,000 workers — including 9,000 more in Connecticut — and to invest more than $15 billion in the U.S. in the next five years.

In addition, United Technologies Corp. CEO and Chairman Greg Hayes said Wednesday its divisions will pump $75 billion into U.S. communities by 2022 through purchases of goods and services.

But equally vital, Hayes said, is that UTC and its subsidiaries must identify, train and access a wider pool of skilled talent to design, make and market its portfolio of jet engines and aerospace systems and components, air heaters/chillers and elevators.

To that end, U.S. Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon was on hand at Pratt’s East Hartford campus to announce a skills-training partnership with UTC aimed at helping its thousands of suppliers in and outside Connecticut find and develop skilled workers.

McMahon, co-founder of her family’s WWE live-action entertainment enterprise in Stamford, said small businesses she encounters nationwide often say they are ready to hire and have business opportunities. However, they lament difficulty finding enough workers to satisfy demand.

“I see and feel that all across the country,” McMahon said in the joint announcement at Pratt’s Customer Training Center. “This a great moment for small-business growth … .”

President Donald Trump, she said, “is bullish” about creating more opportunities for small business.

Hayes noted that UTC, with nearly $60 billion in 2107 sales worldwide, has small-business roots through Pratt and Otis, both founded by visionary entrepreneurs.

According to UTC, it employs more than 18,000 Connecticut workers and its spends $2 billion annually with 3,000 in-state suppliers. It said it has added 3,000 in-state workers in the past three years.

Recent federal tax reform, which slashed the corporate tax rate along with lower rates for individual taxpayers, means the U.S. “now has the most competitive tax system in the world,” Hayes said.

As a direct result, UTC intends to repatriate about $5 billion of cash tied to its overseas operations that will benefit from more favorable tax treatment at home. Those funds, plus future operating income, will go toward the parent’s ambitious domestic hiring and capital-investment aims, he said.

As previously reported, UTC has committed, with state assistance, to nearly $500 million of investment in its East Hartford and Windsor Locks aerospace production and research and development facilities.

But the larger impact on the future of UTC, its employees and customers will be continued development of workers for its supply-chain partners, many of whom are small businesses, Hayes said.

Anne Evans, Connecticut’s district director for the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, said UTC has long been a willing partner with hers and other public agencies in state and federal workforce development efforts.

“The only governor on growth in Connecticut is a qualified workforce,” Hayes told reporters. “The biggest shortage we have in the U.S. is skilled workers.”

Among the 9,000 Connecticut workers UTC says it will hire by 2022, 2,000 of them will fill newly created slots within the parent and its divisions.

Connecticut state Sen. Tim Larson, (D-East Hartford), hailed UTC’s pledge to create 2,000 new jobs at home, a number that could climb exponentially when potential hiring by UTC’s in-state suppliers is factored in.

“This commitment to Connecticut speaks volumes about the great workforce available in our state,” Larson said in a statement.