NC Parachute Maker To Add 375 Jobs

North American Aerodynamics plans to expand operations as it meets demands for new military contract, a decision that Gov. Beverly Perdue said will generate 375 new jobs.

ROXBORO, N.C. (AP) -- A Person County, N.C., parachute manufacturer said Tuesday it plans to expand operations in its home city as it meets the demands for a new military contract, a decision that Gov. Beverly Perdue said will generate 375 new jobs.

Perdue announced North American Aerodynamics Inc. will increase employment in Person County while investing $900,000 toward renovations of two existing buildings near its current Roxboro operations and headquarters.

The company received $300,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides taxpayer-funded financial assistance to encourage industrial expansion. The firm has three years to create the jobs, according to the state Department of Commerce.

The move gives a needed boost to Person County, which had an unemployment rate of 12.1 percent when a fund grant for the company was considered by the state. The company already has 45 employees at its headquarters and hires 55 more seasonally.

Perdue has said she wants to expand the military sector of the state's economy. She traveled to Washington on Monday in part to meet with defense industry executives to talk up the state's military economy.

The company's expanded production will include sewing and assembling parachutes for U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan. The company also makes parachutes for civilian use.

The Department of Commerce said the new jobs will pay on average $23,834 a year, below Person County's average wage of $31,824 without benefits.

The One North Carolina Fund grant usually requires that salaries for jobs created are tied to the county's average wage, but exceptions can occur in areas experiencing severe economic distress, department spokeswoman Kathy Neal said.

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