244 new jobs coming to Durham

A light manufactured by Cree (Shae Crisson)

September 20, 2010 10:26:12 AM PDT
Cree - maker of LED lighting and other products - said Monday it's investing $130 million in its Durham facilities and plans to hire 244 new workers.

Company officials were joined by Governor Beverly Perdue, Representatives Brad Miller and David Price, and Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr for the announcement.

"Cree is a homegrown success story," said Gov. Perdue. "Not just because they started here and grew into a global leader in efficient lighting technology, but also because North Carolina’s top-notch workforce and top-rated business climate helped encourage them to stay, expand and thrive here at home."

Cree said it's building a new production facility within its existing Durham operation which will produce larger LED wafers. The product will help make LED lighting more affordable and cost effective.

"Cree is proud to be expanding our operations in North Carolina," said Cree Chairman and CEO, Chuck Swoboda, "The establishment of this next generation wafer fab capability will help us to lead the next phase of the LED Lighting Revolution."

Cree plans to hire the new workers by 2013. An additional 84 contract positions will also be added.

Company executive Greg Merritt said the new jobs are in addition to a plan announced last year to hire 575 new workers by the end of 2012.

While individual wages for the 244 additional jobs will vary by job function, the average wage for the new jobs is $42,726. The average county wage in Durham County is $57,772.

Governor Perdue's office said Cree will collect a Job Development Investment Grant from North Carolina for the expansion plan. The company is eligible to receive a grant equal to 60 percentof the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of new jobs for each of the 10 years in which the company meets annual performance targets. If Cree meets the targets called for under the grant and sustains them for 10 years, the JDIG could yield $2.236 million in maximum benefits for the company.

Cree products have been used everywhere from the Olympic Games in Beijing to the cafeteria in a congressional office building.

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