Job Creation

iSirona Gets Oil Spill Grant to Add 100 Jobs in Panama City

A medical software company in Panama City, Florida adding 100 new jobs is no doubt a good thing for the Sunshine State. But what makes this particular announcement a bit special is that the company was able to go for the expansion due to an oil spill grant.


Photo – iSirona

To be specific, iSirona was awarded $350,000 under the Industry Recruitment, Retention and Expansion Fund (IRREF) grant program administered by the University of West Florida’s Office of Economic Development and Engagement. In return, iSirona had to commit that they would add at least 60 new jobs over the next three years.

This funding is part of the $30 million authorized under the Oil Spill Recovery Act passed to get the economies of the eight Northwest Florida counties back on track after the devastating impact of the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The counties will together be getting a total of $10 million in grants for this year and the next two years.

The $350,000 given to iSirona is just the second grant out of this year’s $10 million. The first $680,000 went to the Navy Federal Credit Union, which has promised to add 700 new jobs. The recipients of the balance of $8.5 million in grants will be announced before the end of September. All put together, it is going to create a sudden flurry of thousands of jobs in the Panhandle.

As for iSirona, the medical device integration software solutions provider which launched in 2008 has grown from 33 to 100 employees this year alone and serves more than 120 hospitals.

In addition to the $350,000 grant, iSirona also got itself an $180,000 Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund over the next six years from Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity to help with the creation of 45 jobs with an average salary of $49,155 Р150 percent of Bay County’s average annual wage. This was supposed to be over three years, but iSirona has already met its job creation goals.

“We look forward to providing job and economic opportunities in Bay County,” said Dave Dyell, CEO of iSirona. “The funds generated by these two innovative programs will help lay the foundation for continued company growth and more local jobs—a true win/win for iSirona and our community.”

“With the expansion of 67 new, high-wage jobs in Bay County, an additional 29 jobs are projected to be generated in other Bay County businesses,” said Joey Ginn, EDA chair. “iSirona anticipates an even higher level of job creation over the long term and we are thrilled about their expansion in Bay County.”

“The advances iSirona is making in medical technology are strengthening Florida’s position as an innovation leader and a choice location for businesses to expand,” said Gray Swoope, president & CEO of Enterprise Florida. “It’s great to see these new jobs deriving from successful business practices.”

Jobs4America Member Aegis Brings Back 1000 Call Center Jobs To Texas

Last year in August, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski announced the formation and launch of a new coalition called Jobs4America that was supposed to insource 100,000 contact center jobs to the U.S. over the following two years. Whether by luck or design, this motley bunch of outsourcing companies is delivering on their insourcing commitments, at least partly due to a resurgent U.S. economy.


Photo – Aegis

The latest evidence comes in the form of an announcement by Aegis, one of the dozen companies who were members of the Jobs4America coalition when it was launched, that it was hiring 1,000 agents for its centers in Irving, Texas.

“Aegis is growing and creating jobs in the Dallas Metroplex,” said Sandip Sen, Global CEO of Customer Lifecycle Management for Aegis. “We have expanded our engagements with existing clients, which will result in our hiring of 1,000 agents. When we joined the jobs4america Coalition last year we pledged to hire more than 4,000 workers in the US over the next two years, and this is the latest demonstration of progress toward fulfilling that pledge.”

The company will be hiring 230 licensed full-time sales representatives, 600 customer service representatives, and 250 non-licensed sales representatives at its Irving centers, which is also its Americas headquarters. Hiring will take place over the next six weeks to support healthcare clients.

Aegis is not the only one in the coalition that is feeling the need for insourcing. Alpine Access has a business model that is based entirely on home-based agents. A full 70 percent of their business last year was attributed directly to companies that decided to bring their call center activities back home to the U.S. By the end of the year, they had already 1,000 new employees, fulfilling one-fourth of their pledge to create 4,000 call center jobs in the U.S.

” We attribute much of our growth to offshore jobs returning back home, and anticipate doubling our employee base over the next two years to fill the demand for virtual customer service positions,” said Christopher M. Carrington, president and CEO of Alpine Access when jobs4america was launched last year. “We look forward to working with the jobs4america coalition to further these initiatives and create jobs for America.”

There are more than five million Americans working in contact centers in more than 50,000 Locations across the U.S.  Due to insourcing, the number of companies who maintain offshore contact centers or help desks has dropped to 12 percent from a much higher level of 35 percent in 2009.

Even so, there is a lot more room for call center jobs growth in the U.S., because there are 243,000 offshore agents still handling calls from U.S. customers.

Lubbock, Texas To Add 187 Brand New Jobs

187 brand new jobs will be created in the region of Lubbock, Texas.

5 businesses will be expanding in the region of Lubbock while two brand new businesses will relocate to the city of Lubbock. The new jobs were announced by the Economic Development Alliance of Lubbock.

The companies that will be expanding in the region of Lubbock include:

  1. Supply Chain Management Incorporated
  2. Research and Testing Laboratories
  3. Patho Genius Laboratory
  4. Raw Oil and Gas
  5. Covenant Health System

Covenant Health Systems is creating the most amounts of jobs as the Financial Services Operations is relocating to Lubbock. Nearly $84 million jobs are being created with a total annual salary of approximately $2 million dollars.

The relocation projects include Michelin Tires and Quality Buildings. The Michelin Tires relocation project will create approximately 8 jobs while Quality Buildings will create approximately 33 brand new jobs with annual salaries of nearly $1 million dollars. The Sales Manager for Quality Buildings whose name is Steve Merrill elaborates on how Lubbock’s ongoing growth and location makes it ideal for the company as they expand. Growing the services and expanding the capabilities of the company becomes important if the company is going to move forward.

The Lubbock Economic Development Alliance elaborates on how the jobs created will add up to approximately $7 million dollars in annual salaries with capital investments that add up to nearly $1.2 million dollars. The Economic Development Alliance is opening doors for many businesses that want to expand and move to the region of Lubbock. Also at the same time, many of the community members can benefit from more jobs in Lubbock. Added salaries and capital investment is important if the region of Lubbock is going to expand.

Overall, the expansions and brand new businesses are going to serve as a positive factor for Lubbock and the residents.

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Netapp Doubles Wichita Workforce With $85M Investment

The Kansas Department of Commerce and the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) teamed up to announce that Sunnyvale, California-based data storage and data management solutions provider NetApp, Inc. will be adding 400 new jobs to its existing workforce of 450 in Wichita, KS.


Netapp (Photo – Netapp Inc.)

“NetApp is ranked as one of the best companies in the world to work for, and I’m excited that the company will be strengthening its presence in Wichita with a significant expansion of operations and workforce,” said Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. “We are working hard to provide the best business environment in the nation for companies to expand in or relocate to our great state.”

‚ÄúThese are the high-tech jobs that communities throughout the world are competing for, and we are glad that we could compete and win,‚Äù said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer. “NetApp is a good corporate partner and this is great news for Wichita.‚Äù

The high-value 400 jobs in product development and customer support will have an average wage of $73,000. Netapp will be making an $85 million investment on new machinery, equipment and renovation to accommodate the new staff. They won’t b needing to expand the facility or build a new one because the 400,000 sq ft plant has enough space to accommodate the expansion.

“The team really worked together to respond to the customer’s needs,” said GWEDC interim president Suzie Ahlstrand. “NetApp has more than 170 offices worldwide and so many choices for expansion. It was important to secure this project for Wichita and the team did a great job.”

GWEDC are working closely with Sedgwick County, the City of Wichita and the Kansas Department of Commerce on an incentives package for Netapp, including job-creation performance funds. Netapp will be getting upto $418,000 in cash in the next five years on an incremental basis depending on how many jobs they add. The company has plans to add 115 jobs in the first year.

Joel Reich, vice president of the Array Products Group, NetApp, said that the site selection decision in favor of Wichita depended on several factors, including the existing workforce and the strong academic presence such as Wichita State University’s the computer engineering program. He said that when they wanted to hire for open positions last year, WSU graduates quickly applied and filled up the slots.

Another factor which worked in favor of Wichita, Kansas is its location in the central time zone, which makes it easier to provide customer support and communicate with Netapp offices across the U.S. and worldwide. Netapp is a Fortune 500 company with $6.2 billion in revenue generated through 170 offices all around the world that employ a total of 12,000 individuals.

Aerospace Firm Woodward to Invest $200M in Loves Park, Illinois

Fort Collins, Colorado-based Aerospace and energy firm Woodward Inc. is going to invest more than $200 million to build a manufacturing plant and offices in Loves Park, Illinois.

 Woodward announcement by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

Woodward announcement by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (Photo – Woodward Inc.)

The announcement was made by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who was personally involved during the year long site selection process, meeting with Woodward’s CEO and touring the 142-year-old company’s existing facilities in Loves Park.

“Ultimately, we decided to remain and grow in the Rockford region due to the strong support of Governor Quinn, the proximity of the new site to our current campus, and the quality of both the aerospace engineering and manufacturing talent,” said Woodward Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Gendron.

The investment will be used to establish a second campus for the company in the greater-Rockford, Illinois area for its Aircraft Turbine Systems business. The facility will include 300,000 sq ft of production and office space on 60 acres.

“We are pleased that the investments we are making and the jobs we are providing will have such a broad impact on the community,” said Sagar Patel, president, Aircraft Turbine Systems. “We were impressed with the long-term vision and cooperation between Loves Park, Winnebago County, and Illinois leaders through the entire process. This was an important differentiator as we narrowed our search among several other states.”

Woodward plans to double its workforce in the Rockford area by 2021. The new campus and $200 million investment will create 660 new jobs over the next five years. Woodward already has 1,500 employees at its existing Loves Park campus.

“The Rockford region’s highly skilled workforce makes Illinois an ideal place for companies like Woodward that are looking to grow,” said Governor Quinn. “Woodward’s expansion is a great example of how we are creating jobs, fueling key sectors of the economy and stimulating growth throughout the state.”

The rather healthy incentives package provided to Woodward by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) may also have helped tilt the decision in favor of Loves Park. The package includes EDGE corporate income tax credits potentially valued at $45 million. The state is providing $578,000 for job training and a $3 million grant for site improvements, plus $500,000 to the city of Loves Park under the Business Development Public Infrastructure Program.

“The state of Illinois is a committed partner in the technological advancement of the region‚Äôs aerospace industry,‚Äù said DCEO Director David Vaught. ‚ÄúWoodward‚Äôs decision to bring a new production line to Illinois comes as growth in the state‚Äôs manufacturing sector accelerates, and it puts Illinois in an even stronger position as an aerospace hub.‚Äù

Woodward plans to break ground on the new facility this fall, with initial occupancy planned for late 2013.

Curt Schilling’s Company 38 Studios Files For Bankruptcy As 300 Jobs Are Lost

The state of Rhode Island had given out a loan in the amount of $75 million dollars for a video game company that the baseball star Curt Schilling started up.

The government quickly approved the loan because of the amount of jobs that would be created but they overlooked all the requirements that would bring in new investments to the public. The agreement between the state and 38 Studios focused solely on job creation and nothing else. The resources were also drained much faster as 38 Studios hired people at a very rapid rate. The state of Rhode Island was the biggest investor for 38 Studios but raising outside capital was not required. Tens of millions of dollars was raised to complete the production of the games.

The Economic Development Corporation worked out an agreement with 38 Studios so that they can fail because of the milestones that they set down. An industry analyst named Michael Pachter elaborates on how farfetched it is for people to invest in a company and industry that they are not familiar with. The industry analyst pinpoints that investors should have understood the risks instead of buying into the hype that creating jobs would be the sole contributor to success for the company.

Nearly 300 employees were fired from 38 Studios while the company filed for bankruptcy in the month of June 2012. The state of Rhode Island also has the second highest unemployment rate. The Economic Development Corporation also had a deal with 38 Studios as a $7,500 penalty would have been charged if job quotas were not met. The EDC worried that growth was too rapid and would not be sustainable in the long run. Many of the employees were unaware of the difficulties of the company until they were not paid for the work.

Overall, the fall of 38 Studios can be contributed to mismanagement by the executives of the company.

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Hedge Fund To Invest $750M in Connecticut, Creating 1000 Jobs

CT Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that hedge fund company Bridgewater Associates intends to build a new corporate headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)

Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (Photo – DECD)

The project will require a $750 million investment and will create 750 to 1,000 high-level jobs that will be in addition to Bridgewater’s current workforce of 1,225 employees.

Bridgewater has undertaken this project after reaching an agreement with the state to become the eighth participant of Connecticut’s “Next Five” economic development initiative.

Under the Next Five program administered by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), Bridgewater will get the following incentives:-

-         $25 million forgivable loan at a rate of 1 percent for a term of ten years to be used for the construction of the new facility.

-         Up to $80 million in Urban and Industrial Sites Reinvestment Tax Credits.

-         Job training grant of up to $5 million.

-         Alternative energy systems installation grant of up to $5 million.

‚ÄúThe intent of the Next Five program is to attract large-scale projects to our state, and this project clearly demonstrates how powerful‚Äîand effective‚Äîthis program can be,‚Äù said Catherine Smith, commissioner of DECD. ‚ÄúBridgewater’s capital investment of $750 million is higher than the previous seven projects combined and will result in a one-of-a-kind corporate campus which, like the Silicon Valley headquarters for Google or Apple, is designed to facilitate innovation and support a strong and unique corporate culture.‚Äù

Bridgewater’s current headquarters is already in ¬†Westport, CT. The company’s existing 1,225 jobs and whatever taxes they pay will not have any additional impact on the state’s economy. The 750 to 1,000 new jobs that may be created are going to be spread out over the next decade.

But it is a seriously big deal for Stamford, which will benefit from the huge investment into the 750,000 square foot facility that is expected to be completed by 2017. Apart from the direct and indirect economic benefits, there is also the fact that an industrial site is going to become an environment friendly campus.

The plan is to reforest the land to create a park-like campus and construct two energy efficient, sustainable buildings that will open towards the water. Public access will be created by way of an esplanade along the water.

‚ÄúWe are pleased that the State of Connecticut shares our vision of creating a state of the art and environmentally sustainable office campus, while also restoring this key piece of natural waterfront property in Stamford,‚Äù said Greg Jensen, Co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates. ‚ÄúWe look forward to transforming this industrial site into a spectacularly beautiful forested campus that will be seamlessly integrated into the natural surroundings.”

Bridgewater manages approximately $130 billion in global investments. The other companies that are participants of Connecticut‘s Next Five program are CIGNA, ESPN, NBC Sports, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, CareCentrix, Sustainable Building Systems and Deloitte.

Intel to Invest $300M for R&D Facility in Chandler, AZ

Intel Corp. has announced that it will be investing another $300 million into its Chandler, Arizona campus for building a new R&D facility.

Intel in Chandler, AZ

Intel in Chandler, AZ (Photo – City of Chandler)

The facility will create nearly a thousand construction jobs and several hundred permanent jobs.

Hiring for Intel positions will occur over the next 18 months. About half of the positions will be filled by individuals with advanced engineering degrees. Other positions are open to candidates with technical degrees and relevant experience.

“Intel’s dedication to research and development is commendable and will ensure a long and prosperous presence here in the region,” said Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny. “This announcement once again shows Intel’s continued commitment to Chandler and confirms that the state of Arizona is a great place to do business.”

The new two-story, 285,000-square-foot R&D facility will be an LEED certified green building and will be used for support Intel’s packing operations, and is strategic to the company‚Äôs future product roadmap.

“This significant investment in R&D reflects Intel’s principal role in defining the future of technology,” said Babak Sabi, Intel vice president and director, Assembly and Test Technology Development. “The innovation set to take place within the walls of this new research center will influence technology trends for years to come, and we’re delighted to bring that distinction to the community of Chandler and the State of Arizona.”

Work on the new R&D facility already began back in June, and it is expected to be complete in the second half of 2013. The $300 million R&D investment adds to the ongoing construction of Fab 42, Intel’s new manufacturing facility in Ocotillo, a Chandler community.

Fab42 is set for completion in 2013 and will be the most advanced, high-volume semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world. The combined total investment for these two projects put together works out to $5.3 billion.

Intel already pays about $212 million in direct and indirect taxes in Arizona, where it has more than 11,000 employees. These are all mostly, high-value, high-tech jobs with an average salary of $130,000 per year. In addition, Intel pays several thousand contract workers, and their economic impact on the state is estimated to be around $500.9 million.

Intel’s presence in Arizona has steadily grown since they first began operations in Chandler in 1980. The company has invested more than $20 billion in manufacturing in Arizona since 1996.

Intel’s total economic impact in Arizona now works out to around $2.4 billion, including 20,000 non-Intel jobs created as a result of Intel’s presence in Arizona.

Walgreens Adds 500 Jobs With Invest Illinois Initiative

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Walgreens announced that the drug store chain will create 500 new jobs over three years and invest $75 million to expand more than two dozen corporate offices in metropolitan Chicago.


Walgreens (Photo – Brandner88/Wikimedia)

Walgreens is undertaking the expansion after striking an agreement with the state called the “Invest Illinois Initiative.”

The incentive package, estimated at $47 million, offers tax credits tied to retaining 1,500 existing jobs.

– Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credits, which are based on jobs and distributed over a period of 10 years;

РTax credits under the High Impact Business (HIB) Program which supports companies that propose substantial capital investments in operations; and

– Training grants through the Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP);

“Walgreens has deep roots in Illinois and is an important part of the region’s flourishing health care hub,” said Gov. Quinn. “This expansion will create good paying jobs, attract additional investment to the area and help fuel our economic recovery.”

“Just as our stores and pharmacies are health and daily living anchors for the communities we serve, we as a company are now recommitted to serving as an economic anchor for northeastern Illinois.,” said Greg Wasson, Walgreens president and CEO. “A state and workforce that has served us so well for more than a century will now see our footprint grow even larger.”

The Walgreens corporate headquarters has been based in Deerfield since 1975 and employs more than 5,000 corporate workers in Deerfield and in 27 surrounding offices in Northbrook, Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Bannockburn, Mt. Prospect, Northlake and Chicago. Their first office in downtown Chicago was opened in 2010 for housing its e-commerce staff.

The $75 million “Invest Illinois Initiative” expansion and renovation plan is meant to retrofit these disparate offices and make it easier for workers to travel between buildings. As a result of these changes, Walgreens will need to fill an additional 500 corporate positions over the next three years.

These corporate jobs are in addition to the store staff positions that will have to be filled for new Walgreens store openings in Illinois. Walgreens opened its first store on Chicago’s South Side in 1901, and now operates 592 drugstores in Illinois. Across the nation, Walgreens has 7,907 drugstores with fiscal 2011 sales of $72 billion.

163,000 Jobs Added In The Month of July

In the month of July, nearly 163,000 jobs were added which is double the amount when compared to the 3 month average.

Unfortunately, the unemployment rate went up to approximately 8.3 percent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the increase in the unemployment rate. The job growth pace is still middling according to many of the experts. A particular picture in the report reveals that more jobs were created across various sectors while the unemployment rate was a bit higher. Many of the analysts agreed that complications may arise with the Federal Reserve in regards to a stimulus. The FED actually announced that they will most likely take action on the unemployment matter around the month of September.

Many economists were also pessimistic when looking at the hiring outlook as they predicted the numbers would not get any better over the next couple of months. The sluggish pace for the economy can be contributed to government cutbacks and consumer spending that is softening.

Many employers were also weighed down due to the:

  1. Uncertainty over the Europe Crisis
  2. Global Economy that is slowing
  3. Fiscal and Political situation in the U.S.

The former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that economic growth is not strong enough to improve the amount of job prospects. Even though there were weak signals with the economy, the employment report beat the predictions from many of the economists. The predicted growth number was 100,000 for the month of July. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also reacted positively as it went up approximately 217 points. An event was held with the White House where Obama stated that nearly 4.5 million jobs were added over the past 2 ¬Ω years.

Overall, the increase in the amount of jobs in the month of July is positive news for the economic outlook.

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