Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced the expansion of GE Aviation's University Development Center located in the Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation SmartZoneSM in Houghton. The expansion will result in 50 new high-tech jobs and $1 million in capital investment by GE, with an additional $3.7 million annually to operate the facility.
"Through initiatives like the 21st Century Jobs Fund, which is part of our comprehensive economic plan, and the state's network of SmartZones, we are helping high-tech companies like GE Aviation grow and thrive in Michigan," Granholm said. "The company's collaboration with Michigan Tech and the jobs the expansion will create will help Houghton continue to be a center of entrepreneurial growth in Michigan."
GE has signed a five-year lease for the current 14,000-square-foot Powerhouse business incubator at 101 W Lakeshore Drive. A $1 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation with funds provided by the federal Community Development Block Grant program helped the city of Houghton finance the renovation and expansion of the Powerhouse business incubator and win GE's investment.
"I commend the outstanding collaborative effort put forth by the leadership of Houghton, Michigan Tech and the SmartZone to make this project a reality," MEDC President and CEO James C. Epolito said. "This project represents another significant step toward diversifying Michigan's economy, and Michigan Tech - one of the UP's and the state's greatest assets - is helping to lead the charge."
The engineering staff at GE's University Development Center will perform various engineering services including software development, verification and validation, mechanical design and hardware design.
"We are pleased to grow our business in Michigan as a result of our strong integration capabilities and advanced technology for military and commercial aircraft," said Stuart Mullan, president of the digital systems business of GE Aviation. "Through our collaboration with Michigan Technological University and community and state officials, this center creates a strong pool of emerging engineers to provide design and development services for our aerospace programs."
The new facility will increase GE's workforce in Michigan to nearly 1,700, with the main facility in Grand Rapids. GE plans on occupying the Center in January, 2008. The project will be administered through the Systems division of GE Aviation, formerly Smiths Aerospace.
"Hands-on, working partnerships like this between Michigan Technological University and industry are a key factor in the success of our graduates and the future prosperity of Michigan," Michigan Technological University President Glenn D. Mroz said.
Michigan's 12 SmartZones provide distinct geographical locations where technology-based firms, entrepreneurs and researchers locate in close proximity to all of the community assets that assist in their endeavors. The technology clusters promote resource collaborations between universities, industry, research organizations, government and other community institutions, growing technology-based businesses and jobs. To date, the SmartZone network has helped launch more than 540 entrepreneurial ventures statewide.
"We are proud that GE has chosen Houghton for their university development center - a model that provides high-tech jobs for the community, satisfying technical opportunities for technical students, and a valuable workforce for the company," MTEC SmartZone CEO Carlton Crothers said. "It's a win-win for everyone - the students, the university and the community. This center will have a positive impact in attracting other companies to set up such corporate operations in the Upper Peninsula."
GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as integrated digital, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft. GE Aviation also has a global service network to support these offerings. For more information, visit www.ge.com/aviation.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information on MEDC initiatives and programs, visit the Web site at www.MichiganBusiness.org.
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