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Pratt & Whitney expansion producing futures for upcoming college graduates

WRBL Staff - COLUMBUS, Ga. -- The expansion of a Columbus company means more opportunities for college students right here at home.

A multi-million dollar expansion is underway for Pratt and Whitney. But the square footage isn't the only thing being expanded.

The recent expansion means the company can hire more than 500 new people over the next five years. It also means more scholarship opportunities for students at Columbus Tech. For the company that provides air craft engines, it's all about providing a future for students coming out of school.

"With our expansion we found it more and more important to offer more scholarships so we've greatly increased the number and types of scholarships over the last five years to attract that kind of manufacturing talent," says Tom Bode.

Nickolas Bishop is heading into his first year at Columbus Tech where he's training to be a machinist. Thursday, he received a scholarship from the Georgia Association of Manufacturers which partners with Pratt and Whitney to provide scholarships.

"I have a two-year-old son. I have so many things I have to take care of. I'm waiting on my Pell grant so this money may make the difference between me getting through these first few weeks you know I couldn't have asked for something better," says Nickolas Bishop.

Nickolas and other local students are a focal point for Columbus 2025, the long-term plan for the city's growth and transformation. The plan is made up of five pillars, including talented and educated people.

Within this pillar is the goal of developing home-grown talent and finding jobs for them in the area.

Tom Bode tells News 3 that's where local companies like Pratt and Whitney come in.

"By doing the scholarships we're trying to encourage local residents to get involved in manufacturing and get a great career and job right here in Columbus," says Bode.

Pratt and Whitney already employs around 100 new workers thanks to the expansion. They plan to hire another 100 each year for the next four years.

"Of those 500 jobs, 495 require technical skills and do not require a bachelor's degree so come to Columbus Tech and learn more," says Lorette Hoover.

And learning is easy at Columbus Tech. Where students are provided specific training related to jobs at Pratt and Whitney.

What most benefits from developing local talent is the city's economy, if someone is trained and hired here, they'll stay in the area and contribute to the economy by spending money. As more local talent stays, more money pours in and offers opportunities for the city to grow and transform which is the goal of Columbus 2025.


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