Asheville college to play key role in company's major expansion in mountains

Broadcast on WLOS, October 22, 2020

An aerospace company is coming to the mountains, bringing hundreds of job opportunities and investing $650 million to the area.

Pratt & Whitney, a division of Raytheon Technologies Corp., makes engines for planes and helicopters

"Anytime there are economic development opportunities and expansions like this in our area, the college is called in ,” Economic and Workforce Development director Kevin Kimrey said of Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College.

The college will play a pivotal role in Buncombe County's largest project, expected to fill it's 1 million-square-foot facility with up to 800 employees.

"These are jobs that will help Western North Carolina families stay here, and not just survive but thrive and grow their careers here in Asheville and Buncombe County,” Economic Development vice president Clark Duncan said.

Kimrey said the college will be recruiting and training the company's workforce.

“Part of what we will do is we will create a customized training program project that is funded by the state of North Carolina, and that will enable us to help Pratt & Whitney recruit employees, that will help up to do pre-employment assessment and training as well as post-employment training,” Kimrey said.

He said the school will be using existing programs like the college's fundamentals of machining class, as well as starting new programs tailored to the company.

"What's really exciting to me is they are high-tech, high-paying jobs. So it gives us an opportunity at A-B Tech to certainly get more students and help more students, but also enter into a new era in terms of the kinds of high-skilled training that we are going to be able to offer,” Kimrey said.

The facility is expected to be built by January 2022. The hiring process is expected to start as early as next fall.


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