Eastern Carolina Company Eligible For Millions In Grants

Bridgestone-Firestone in Wilson and Goodyear in Fayetteville will cash in big on 10-year grants from the state, as long as they follow the guidelines.

They are each eligible for $30 million over the 10-year period. The money will come from the job maintenance and capital development fund, or JMAC, which was created by the General Assembly in September 2007 to encourage companies to keep high-paying jobs and shell out millions for updates to keep North Carolina competitive in a global market.

The grants for Goodyear and Bridgestone are primarily to support training for workers to use new technology and equipment.

According to the North Carolina Commerce Department, a company must invest at least $200 million over six years, employ at least 2,000 employees, pass a cost-benefit test, meet wage and health insurance requirements for workers and be located in one of the state's least economically prosperous, or Tier 1, counties to be eligible for a JMAC grant.

The commerce department reports Goodyear's grant requires the company to retain 2,398 workers and invest $200 million by 2012 at its Fayetteville facility to receive the full grant amount, and Bridgestone must retain 2,083 workers and invest $200 million by 2010 at its Wilson facility to receive the full grant amount.

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