Business

Pratt & Whitney Expansion to Add 230 Jobs in Northern Palm Beach County

By: Jim Turner | Posted: November 16, 2012 3:55 AM
Pratt and Whitney

The Palm Beach County Pratt and Whitney plant in its heyday | Credit: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Pratt & Whitney Aircraft intends to add 230 jobs as it expands its manufacturing facility on its 6,800 acres in northern Palm Beach County.

East Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Louis Chênevert was joined by Gov. Rick Scott in announcing a $4.4 million incentive package from the state and Palm Beach County for Pratt & Whitney’s $63 million investment.

The state is putting up $3.4 million, with $1 million from the county for tax exemptions and job growth incentives over four years.

UT is the parent company of aerospace giant Pratt & Whitney, which has been one of the county’s most prominent employers since opening in 1958.

“From this expansion, Pratt & Whitney is expected to create hundreds of jobs, which will improve the quality of life and create more job opportunities for Florida families,” Scott stated in a release.  

“It also means we’re further strengthening Florida’s foothold in partnering with the military and defense industries that are critical to our nation’s security. Although we’re making incredible progress, our work isn’t done, and I’ll continue to make job creation my top priority.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, praised the announcement for Pratt, which is building the engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Rooney spent considerable time and effort -- in fact, years -- leading a House initiative culminating in 2010. It combined Republican freshmen and progressive Democrats to kill an alternative to the Pratt engine that had been contracted to General Electric/Rolls Royce.

“Bringing these high-paying, high-skill jobs back to Palm Beach County means so much to me personally,” Rooney stated in a release. “Growing up in Palm Beach Gardens, many of my friends’ moms and dads worked for Pratt & Whitney, and it was very difficult on our community to lose those jobs when portions of their production line moved out of Florida. When I got to Congress, I made it a priority to get these jobs back.

“I’m proud that our efforts have finally paid off -- by striking the wasteful extra engine, we’ve not only saved taxpayers billions of dollars, but we’ve also helped lay the groundwork to create much-needed jobs in Palm Beach County.”

Deemed wasteful by the Pentagon, the back-up engine, estimated at $3 billion to develop, was backed by House leadership, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Construction of a near 80,000-square-foot to 100,000-square-foot facility is expected to begin in the first half of 2013.

“This expansion involves Pratt & Whitney’s most advanced commercial and military engines and builds upon the great work already being done here,” Chênevert stated in the release.

The new hires would bump Pratt & Whitney’s work force to around 730.

In the 1990s, before a series of massive cutbacks at UT, Pratt boasted a Palm Beach County work force of nearly 5,000.

UT currently employees about 1,000 in Florida.



Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.



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