Nearly one year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the world in its tracks. Lockdowns, quarantines and face masks have since become the “new normal” in nearly every corner of the world.
In a year marked by challenges, Pratt & Whitney employees worked together to give back to our global communities; stepping in to contribute and working tirelessly to help stop the spread and make our communities healthier and safer.
Personal Protective Equipment
In March 2020, Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes pledged that the company would produce 10,000 medical face shields to help offset the shortage of personal protective equipment available to frontline workers.
Within six weeks of this promise, employees from Pratt &Whitney collaborated with their colleagues across Raytheon Technologies to 3-D print and assemble more than 32,000 face masks. Seven thousand were sent to protect on-site employees, and 25,000 went to frontline workers at medical facilities across the country.
When schools suddenly switched to distance learning, it raised the risk that students who lacked adequate technology at home would be left behind.
In East Hartford, Conn., Pratt & Whitney provided funding for more than 200 laptops for students at Mayberry Elementary School. And in Canada, as schools also modified their curriculum, Pratt & Whitney partnered with DXC Technology to donate 120 laptops to students at an aerospace-focused technical school in Montreal.
As food insecurity rose to record levels last year, Raytheon Technologies committed $5 million to Feeding America®, a domestic hunger-relief organization that supports food banks and food-security initiatives across the United States. Several key Pratt & Whitney locations were among the regions that received donations to answer the demand for local food assistance. Those locations included Hartford, Conn., West Palm Beach, Fla., North Berwick, Maine, and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
In addition to financial support, Pratt & Whitney employees volunteered to package and distribute food to community members in need; and Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut has also been used as a Foodshare food distribution site with more than 1,000 cars driving through each day.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the world simultaneously witnessed an historic awakening of social justice and an urgent call for equity. CEO Greg Hayes encouraged employees to stand together against racism, discrimination and hatred, and we developed a plan to improve diversity, equity and inclusion. Through prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion, we are not only becoming a better company – we are becoming an even better contributor to our communities.
Recently appointed Raytheon Technologies Chief Diversity Officer Marie R. Sylla-Dixon explains, "when diverse minds come together to advance innovation and business growth, they propel the economic progress of communities around the world."
Taking this pivotal time to foster an environment of learning and understanding, all Pratt & Whitney employees attended a company-led inclusion training we called, “Stand Up for Inclusion”. This training encouraged techniques such as active listening and led to further discussion on defining and developing a more inclusive culture. Change takes time, but the “Stand Up for Inclusion” and the many DE&I activities and resources that have launched since then foster an environment of learning and understanding. As a result, the business will have increased talent attraction, retention and diverse representation that mirrors the global communities where we work and live.
Powering the End to the Pandemic
The end of 2020 brought hope as a vaccine was approved and became ready for distribution. Pratt & Whitney engines powered many of the aircraft transporting the various forms of the COVID-19 vaccine, with some aircraft carrying up to one million doses.
The air strip that once helped develop our engines is the largest COVID-19 vaccination site in the state of Connecticut. In 2021, the retired runway on the East Hartford, Connecticut Pratt & Whitney campus has been transformed into a drive-through vaccination clinic, which will eventually administer up to 10,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine per week.
“Vaccinating as many as possible, as efficiently as possible, is the key to ending the pandemic here in Connecticut and around the world,” said Chris Calio, president, Pratt & Whitney.