Quality Engineer Development Program Builds on Interns' Skills

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When Mickey Perez graduated from Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) last spring, she was looking to apply her engineering expertise in the Quality field.

"I am a quality person at heart," the new Pratt & Whitney hire said. "For me, quality is not just another job, I am working to make Quality a career." Perez is off to a great start, thanks to Pratt & Whitney's Quality Engineer Development (QED) program where, as part of her first eight-month assignment, she is getting a full immersion into the tools and approaches that ensure the production of perfect quality parts every time.

Perez joined Pratt & Whitney after working as an intern in the East Hartford, Connecticut, Turbine Module Center (TMC) while still a student. That internship was part of a scholarship program established through CCSU's foundation that provided her with early exposure to best practices. Now, the QED program is enabling her to build on that learning as a Pratt & Whitney quality engineer.

"TMC has all its A i's dotted and t's crossed when it comes to their quality clinic process," she noted. "They have an amazing, robust process, and it was a great introduction to what is necessary in meeting our rigorous quality requirements."

The QED program is modeled after Pratt & Whitney's successful Manufacturing Engineering Development Program, according to John Klein, who leads Quality discipline health. Participants rotate through three eight-month assignments that give them exposure to the range of quality sub-disciplines, the ACE operating system, and how the tools and approaches integrate into Pratt & Whitney's operations.

Because QED program participants are hired based on their internships, they are already acquainted with Pratt & Whitney's culture, and have developed some key industry skills. "During their internship we train them to ACE Associate level," Klein said. "They build on that training as part of their QED experience."

To help continue their success, the QED program provides participants with executive mentors – Perez's mentor is Ken Cook, ‎deputy director, Operations Quality. However, she also continues to consult with her internship supervisor, Matt Yustinich, quality clinic engineer. "The relationships I began during my internship were, and still are, very valuable as I continue to develop my quality career," Perez said. "It's very important to remember that the relationships among Pratt & Whitney people are what really help us deliver perfect parts."

Frank Dempsey, quality manager, drum rotor details, Compression Systems Module Center (CSMC), who is Perez's current supervisor, added, "The QED helps quality engineers build their skillset block by block. They learn all the necessary tools, and the company gains a group of productive, professionals committed to a career in quality."

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