Gov. Mike Beebe and Conway officials announced with great happiness today that Hewlett Packard would add 200 technical jobs to its operation in Conway. These are said to be better paying jobs than the 500 call center jobs that were eliminated several months ago.
Has HP met hiring targets set for the millions in state and local subsidies given to lure the facility to Conway? In theory, the state can seek repayment if goals aren’t met. I have a question in with the Economic Development Commission about that.
UPDATE: Scott Hardin of AEDC responded:
We are still working with HP to determine where the company stands. Instead of looking at where they are at the end of 2013, we take into account how many full time employees they’ve had over a period of time along with total payroll. By the end of the year we should know specifics on any clawback money.
HP had promised 1,000 jobs. The new jobs would put the workforce between 800 and 900.
The news release:
Less than six months after a layoff at their Conway facility, Hewlett-Packard today announced plans to establish a “regional industry development center” that would add approximately 200 jobs to that same site during 2014. John Herzog, Hewlett-Packard Account Executive, said that “these new employees will fill important technical roles in software engineering, business analysis and management in support of HP’s growing government and commercial healthcare business across the United States.”
Governor Mike Beebe said that the announcement represented the resiliency of Arkansas’s growing technology workforce. “The skill level of these jobs, the salaries and the field of expertise all prove that Arkansas’s workforce can compete for high-quality jobs and adjust to the changing demands of HP’s market.”
Hewlett-Packard cited the presence of three colleges and universities, high-quality workforce and hundreds of existing HP employees working locally as the key drivers for the project. The “Industry Development Center” is a centralized group of highly skilled HP staff that builds, enhances and implements HP’s healthcare industry solutions for many commercial and state clients.
Conway Mayor Tab Townsell said that the news should re-affirm Conway citizen’s faith in the strength of the community’s relationship with the tech giant. “The fundamental reasons we were excited about this project five years ago have not changed. Conway has a quality workforce. HP has the wherewithal to withstand the ebbs and flows of the global economy. Today is a great example of Conway and HP succeeding together.”