United Technologies Corporation this week announced plans to invest more than $15 billion in its U.S. operations and hire 35,000 employees over the next five years.

The company plans to hire 7,000 employees in Connecticut to fill vacancies created by retirements and normal turnover and add an additional 2,000 workers by 2022.

United Technologies supply chain spending
United Technologies plans to spend an additional $75 billion with its supply chain, including $19 billion with small businesses.

UTC chairman and CEO Greg Hayes outlined the initiative May 23 during a meeting with suppliers at subsidiary Pratt & Whitney's East Hartford headquarters.

"United Technologies is growing globally and growing the fastest in the United States," Hayes said.

"Over the past three years, we have created more jobs in the U.S. than in the rest of the world combined."

The aerospace systems and commercial building technology manufacturer will invest in research and development, make additional capital expenditure outlays, and spend an additional $75 billion with U.S. suppliers.

About $19 billion of that supply chain spending will go to small businesses. UTC and the U.S. Small Business Administration have developed an initiative to help smaller companies compete with large suppliers.

"Our investments reflect our core belief that, similar to U.S. economic goals, United Technologies' continued success will be dependent on a highly-skilled workforce, world class manufacturing facilities, and workforce education programs that enable employees to improve their skills and remain competitive in an increasingly digital economy," Hayes said.

Federal Tax Reform

Hayes said federal tax changes were a key factor behind the company's planned investments, providing access to capital that "was not possible before tax reform."

"The U.S. is now the most competitive tax system in the world and it makes investment in the U.S. all the more easy to justify," he said.

Hayes also said UTC is expanding its workforce development and education initiatives—the U.S. and Connecticut face a critical shortage of skilled workers—including apprenticeship programs and partnerships with community colleges and high schools.

The U.S. is now the most competitive tax system in the world and it makes investment in the U.S. all the more easy to justify.
— UTC chairman and CEO Greg Hayes
UTC employs about 18,000 people in Connecticut—11% of the state's total manufacturing workforce—and has added around 3,000 workers in the last three years.

The company has about 3,000 suppliers in the state.

Manufacturing Boost

CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan praised the announcement, noting that manufacturing, particularly the surging aerospace and defense sectors, is one of the Connecticut economy's bright spots.

He said manufacturers now employ 162,900 people in the state, growing 2.8% over the last 12 months and leading all industries in percentage terms. Connecticut's overall year-over-year job growth is 0.5%.

While the state's economy contracted last year—shrinking for the fourth time in five years—durable goods manufacturing led all industries with 0.39% growth.

"UTC's announcement reflects both the company's long history in Connecticut and its ongoing commitment to the state and its workforce," Brennan said.

"This is a big win for Connecticut. It makes our manufacturing sector even stronger, with a major spillover effect across thousands of other companies in the state, and helps address our workforce development challenges."

Hayes said much of the company's planned research and development investments will focus on smart factory initiatives, next-generation additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence and autonomy, hybrid-electric technologies, and cybersecurity.

Last summer, UTC opened an expanded $60 million research center in East Hartford. That center houses a $75 million additive manufacturing program and a $40 million jet engine research facility.