Amid expansion, TRUMPF adds new perks to attract talent

Burke Doar Senior Vice President, TRUMPF Inc.
Q&A talks with Burke Doar, senior vice president of TRUMPF Inc., a Farmington-based machine tool manufacturer.

Q. TRUMPF Inc. recently expanded its Farmington training center by 18,000 square feet as part of a $3 million investment meant to grow its training base for customers and future workers. What was involved in the expansion and what was the strategy behind it?

A. There were several things involved in the expansion of our training center here in Farmington. First, we had to invest in the remodeling of some of our internal manufacturing space for a larger training floor to accommodate additional TRUMPF machines. In addition to floor space and equipment, we increased the number of training classrooms and added substantially to our IT infrastructure. An area was also remodeled for a new cafeteria for our employees and customers participating in training. The expansion has allowed us to expand our capabilities in order to continue demonstrating TRUMPF's commitment to the training and education of our precision sheet metal fabrication customers and employees.

Q. We've heard a lot about Connecticut manufacturers having a tough time finding talent. Is TRUMPF noticing the talent shortage? How severe is it? What types of positions are in most demand?

A. Yes, we are also noticing a talent shortage within TRUMPF. For example, field service engineers, software engineering and development personnel, as well as machinists are just a few positions that we are working toward filling here at TRUMPF. Our most urgent need is for additional technical applications and service engineers to support our increasing sales of machine tools with automation here in the United States.

Q. What unique things is TRUMPF doing to recruit workers?

A. In addition to career fairs, TRUMPF provides many opportunities for our employees and future employees. As a global company, working for TRUMPF offers employees an international experience whether it is by communicating with our subsidiaries around the world, international internships, or potential opportunities to work abroad. We also offer various benefits consisting of tuition reimbursement, language learning software, employee discount programs, and as of this month paid parental bonding leave and a paid family leave. Our company also works to hire veterans and has an attractive apprenticeship program that offers International Association for Continuing Education and Training and SAA certified courses.

Q. What is driving the hiring demand among so many manufacturers in Connecticut?

A. The digital transformation of manufacturing is creating an urgent need to recruit, train and retain a workforce that is proficient in technical systems support and software maintenance. More and more manufacturers are investing in capital equipment such as the machines tools and lasers we build here at TRUMPF to drive direct and indirect costs out of their manufacturing operations so that they can remain competitive in the global market. The new tax law is favorable to the purchasing of capital equipment in the form of accelerated depreciation.

Q. TRUMPF recently announced it was expanding its paid parental and family leave for workers, which is a benefit rarely offered by manufacturers. What's the new policy and why is it being offered?

A. TRUMPF now offers its eligible employees a paid parental bonding leave, as well as a paid family leave. The parental bonding policy offers fathers and same-sex partners up to four weeks paid leave to care for their new child, whether by birth or adoption. This also allows mothers an additional four weeks paid leave to look after their child in addition to eight weeks maternity leave. We want to support our employees work-life balance when adding to their families and we feel that offering a parental bonding leave to fathers and same-sex partners could be a great help.

The family leave policy now offers our employees two weeks paid leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. With TRUMPF being a family owned company, it is important for us to offer our employees an opportunity to care for their family members during a difficult situation.