July 15, 2008

IBM Will Invest $1.5B, Bring New Jobs Upstate

By: by The Business Review


At least 1,000 new jobs, including 325 at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, would be added to upstate New York's employment force under a $1.5 billion investment package announced Tuesday by IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and state leaders.

The state will invest an additional $140 million--$25 million of the grant money will help expand IBM's research operations at the nanocollege and add 325 jobs, $65 million will help upgrade IBM's East Fishkill operations in Dutchess County and retain its 1,400 employees, and $50 million, from the state's 2009 budget, will aid construction of a semiconductor research center in upstate New York.

The operations will be run by Albany Nanotech. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will be a tenant at the new center.

A location for the plant hasn't been determined yet.

The 120,000-square-foot facility, to be owned and managed by Albany NanoTech, will create more than 675 jobs when fully operational, officials said. With at least 200 employees, IBM already is the largest tenant at the nanocollege.

"With the investments [announced] today, I think we're going to continue to see our competition in nanotechnology in our rearview mirror," said John Kelly III, IBM's senior vice president and research director told a crowd of more than 500 gathered at the nanocollege.

The job retention promised in Fishkill comes despite the company's recent announcements of job cuts elsewhere in the country.

Noting recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics that show people leaving upstate communities, Gov. David Paterson said IBM's commitment would help restore prosperity to the state.

"This is one of the steps we took to turn New York around," Paterson said.

All told, the state's $140 million commitment means that IBM is investing more than $10 to every $1 that New York will spend.

Alain Kaloyeros, CEO of Albany NanoTech, lauded the deal as a "visionary and pioneering investment" bringing "critical job creation and funding benefits spanning from Buffalo to Hudson Valley."

Sen. Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick), who helped broker the agreement, said Tuesday's news would be one of the last announcements he makes while in office. Bruno, 79, said in June that he was stepping down as Senate majority leader. Last week, he said he wouldn't finish his term, which expires Dec. 31.

"This will be the last announcement of any proportion that I will participate in as senator," he said.

Kelly said IBM plans to expand its semiconductor research to accommodate a growing demand for more advanced computer and telecommunications systems, and more sophisticated consumer electronics.