Governor Roy Cooper announced today that Corning Incorporated will invest $150 million to expand operations in Catawba County, creating 200 jobs in Hickory.
“As we celebrate Manufacturing Week in our state, it’s exciting to see a global manufacturer like Corning expand yet again in a great rural county like Catawba,” said Governor Cooper. “Corning understands North Carolina’s strengths as a business location, thanks to their firsthand experience with our skilled workforce, customized training programs and great quality of life.”
“With this capacity expansion, Corning is addressing demand from leading network operators -- in particular AT&T, which previously announced plans to significantly expand its fiber footprint," said Michael A. Bell, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Optical Communications. "We believe the industry is in the early stages of a major growth cycle, and we’re turning once again to the highly skilled local workforce in Catawba County to help us meet the demand. We deeply appreciate the support of local and state officials, particularly Governor Roy Cooper, Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, and state lawmakers.”
Corning's Optical Communications business operates cable facilities in Hickory, Newton and Winston-Salem, and optical fiber facilities in Wilmington and Concord. Its Optical Communications headquarters is in Charlotte.
“Corning is one of North Carolina’s flagship manufacturers, helping us maintain our number one standing for manufacturing in the Southeast,” said Secretary Sanders. “Our state’s commitment to education and workforce training remains fundamental to our ability to supply the skilled, diverse workers companies look for in a business location.”
While salaries will vary based on position, the average wage for all the new jobs will be $55,000, which is above the Catawba County average of $43,920.
Corning’s project will be facilitated by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Using a formula that takes into account the tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $2,041,200, spread over 12 years.
State payments only occur following verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.
Corning’s JDIG agreement could also move as much as $226,800 into a fund that helps rural communities across the state attract business in the future. When companies select a site located in a Tier 2 county such as Catawba, their grant agreements move some of the new tax revenue into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. Local communities in more economically challenged areas of the state use grants from this fund to build public infrastructure projects, which can improve a community’s ability to attract companies to their regions.
“Corning is a global company with many options when it comes to selecting a business location,” said N.C. State Senator Dean Proctor. “We’re proud of the skilled workers in Catawba County and our region who help keep us competitive and set such a high bar for excellence.”
“Many local people and organizations helped bring about today’s good news,” said N.C. Representative Mitchell Setzer. “Our community will continue to offer strong support for Corning and its employees as the company enters this next exciting phase of growth in Catawba County.”
Today’s announcement comes as the state celebrates North Carolina Manufacturing Week, September 26 – October 2. Earlier today, Governor Cooper issued a proclamation marking the importance of the state’s manufacturing sector, which employs more than 452,000 North Carolinians representing 12.5 percent of the state’s workforce. North Carolina is home to the largest manufacturing workforce in the southeastern United States.
Partnering with N.C. Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Duke Energy, Catawba County, the City of Hickory and the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation.