RALEIGH, N.C. (Oct. 23, 2008) — Goodyear and Bridgestone/Firestone could receive up to $30 million each over 10 years to maintain employment and upgrade equipment at their factories in North Carolina.
The tire makers applied for the grants from the North Carolina Department of Commerce under the Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund law approved in September 2007.
Designed to benefit companies with at least 2,000 employees in economically depressed counties in the state, the funding law requires grant applicants to maintain employment at the level attained when the grant was applied for and make at least $200 million in capital improvements.
Goodyear employs 2,398 workers at its Fayetteville, N.C., facility, and Bridgestone employs 2,083 in Wilson, N.C.
A Bridgestone spokesman said the state already has authorized a first-year payment of $2.5 million to the Wilson plant. The tire maker is investing large sums to increase capacity to make large-diameter high-performance and ultra-high-performance tires, and is contacting community and technical colleges in the area to assist in training workers for those production lines, he said.
Goodyear's funds have been approved and allocated but not authorized yet, a company spokeswoman said. Some agreements between Goodyear and the state still need to be finalized, but the company expects to get its first grant payment before the end of this year, she said.