Aerospace leader Pratt & Whitney will add about 8,000 jobs in Connecticut over the next decade as part of a major worldwide expansion.
Company president Robert Leduc said today that Pratt's global workforce will increase by 25,000 employees in the next 10 years, with about a third of those new hires in Connecticut.
Leduc said Pratt expects to hire 1,000 engineers in the state in the next year and add another 1,000 manufacturing jobs over the same period.
"Right now we have the biggest backlog since World War II," Leduc said.
"We have about $1 trillion of business in our backlog and we've been able to do that through innovation."
Farmington-based Pratt expects to double production by 2020 and double it again by 2027, with much of that growth driven by the company's new turbofan jet engine.
Along with the need to ramp up engine production, Pratt also expects some 18,000 employees to retire over the next 10 years.
Are we going to have enough people and are they going to have the right skill set?
"The thing that keeps us up at night is 'are we going to have enough people and are they going to have the right skill set?'"
Like many manufacturers in Connecticut, one of Pratt's major challenges is keeping educated and qualified workers here.
Leduc said recent college graduates often find Connecticut expensive.
"It's really hard to hang on to these kids," he said. "They stay, they build a resume, and then they go. We have to figure out how to fix that.
"Part of that is our responsibility. Part of that is we need to find a way to advance these people more quickly, give them clearer job paths, career paths, but it's tough to recruit and retain talent in the state of Connecticut."
Pratt employs 34,000 employees around the globe, with about 9,500 employees in Connecticut. The company has hired 1,500 people in the state since the beginning of 2015.