Pratt & Whitney Elevates Their Workforce with Training from Nexus

November 16, 2022

by Cj Pettus

By partnering with Nexus at Michigan Engineering, aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney offers its employees high-quality professional development—and in turn, the employees give back to the company. At Pratt & Whitney, they are focused on innovating and engineering a new and exciting future for aviation. They need to be sure that their employees are meeting goals and helping the company succeed, so they depend on the University of Michigan for their custom employee training needs.

The custom programs that Nexus offers truly are just that—customizable to meet each organization’s unique goals. At Pratt & Whitney, they needed employee training that would align with their existing focus on Lean thinking while bringing their knowledge to the next level. They decided to create a program in partnership with Nexus for their operations team.

Pratt & Whitney’s Enterprise CORE Proficiency Development Manager Kathrine Zavarella-Gruszecki shared, “At Pratt & Whitney, in our operations environment, we’re constantly looking for opportunities to improve our processes. How can we work smarter—not harder—to be more efficient.”


Their team was interested in the Lean Manufacturing course led by Dr. Izak Duenyas and Dr. Yavuz Bozer, but they wanted an even more in-depth experience for their employees. By working with the Nexus team, Pratt & Whitney was able to plan a custom schedule that fit into a full, nine-month program that would allow their employees to grow and take on new responsibilities.

Kathrine said, “knowing how the University of Michigan has treated us in the past, we decided to create a holistic program between Pratt & Whitney and U-M. We use U-M for the construct and the consistency of the training and the time frame in which they can provide that training for us. It helps to build a Lean proficient community in a very quick time frame.”

After meeting and planning, Nexus and the aerospace manufacturer finalized a course that strongly benefits both the participants and the bottom line. The learner cohorts, which typically consist of approximately 90 employees, attend all three weeks of the Lean Manufacturing course, spread over a nine-month period. Participants attend a classroom week and then return to their daily work and immediately begin implementing what they’ve learned.


When the employees begin actualizing their new knowledge, they do so with a clear goal in mind. Pratt & Whitney’s leadership expects to see measurable results from this program. So, each individual in the cohort is required to identify areas of improvement in their local organization and attain hard cost savings by utilizing the techniques and methods from the Lean course. Each employee works on a Lean-focused project and meets with their senior leadership to ensure they are set up for success. By the end of nine months, the employees have sharpened their skills enough to meet their high savings goal. There’s no doubt that the program works. To date through this collaborative program, Pratt & Whitney has achieved cost savings in the millions from their employees’ efforts.

Of course, not every company has the exact same focus as Pratt & Whitney, but that’s the beauty of creating a custom course with the University of Michigan. Kathrine put it best when she said, “Every company has different needs, but every company also has the same core needs. Having the conversation with Nexus and understanding what your company’s needs are and what Nexus can offer—it would be crazy not to jump at the opportunity to have this conversation.”


Pratt & Whitney has taken full advantage of the resources that Nexus offers. By partnering with the Nexus team, their operations division has seen immediate positive results, which should continue well into the foreseeable future. With Nexus by their side, Pratt & Whitney is elevating their workforce and achieving their goals.

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Would you like to request a custom course? Please email Andrea Schuitman at [email protected] or submit the form below.

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