SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (AP) — Changing course after years of eliminating jobs in New York, General Electric Co. announced Wednesday that it is adding 500 new positions and investing more than $39 million in Schenectady, N.Y.
GE pledged to complete the new hiring by 2011. The new jobs will be in engineering support and will pay an average of $75,000 a year.
Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer joined GE and Schenectady officials at a press conference for the announcement. Spitzer said he expected GE's decision to be the beginning of a strengthened upstate economy.
''What we did was bring a new energy toward lowering costs, attracting new jobs and rebuilding the upstate economy into one that can compete on the global stage in the next century,'' Spitzer said.
During World War II, GE employed about 40,000 people in the Schenectady area. That number shrank to 3,200 in recent years.
The Empire State Development Corp. granted the company $5 million to cover renovations at a 200,000-square-foot building set to accommodate the new workers.
The city and county of Schenectady will give GE about $2.8 million in tax breaks, including $2 million in sales tax savings on investments for building materials and furnishings.
GE also will be eligible for up to $1.4 million from the New York State Energy Research Development Authority for energy-efficient equipment and construction.
Earlier this year, GE announced 150 new jobs for a renewable energy and customer support center in Schenectady.