The Stant USA Corp. Pine Bluff facility received a nearly $200,000 rebate check through the Arkansas Economic Development Commission Tuesday for adding nearly 100 jobs to its existing plant in the past two years.
The $191,420 check was courtesy of the Create Rebate program initiated by the AEDC under the authority of the Consolidated Incentive Act of 2003.
The program serves as an incentive for employers in the manufacturing, software motion picture, distribution, research, and technical services sectors that receive at least 75 percent of their revenue from out-of-state sales to add to their work force.
"In 2009 we began the process of relocating a thermostat manufacturing operation that had previously been in Waltham, Mass., to the Pine Bluff facility," said Jo Ann Wood, plant controller at Stant. "It created around 100 new jobs for the area. The relocation process took the better part of a year with time needed to relocate all of the equipment and to hire and train the new employees."
Wood said that Stant is eligible on a yearly basis for the rebate when they add to their payroll as are other qualifying businesses.
Information on the AEDC website explains that the rebate program consists of an annual cash payment based on a company's payroll for new, full-time, permanent employees.
The program divides all 75 Arkansas counties into one of four possible tier levels, with tier 4 counties providing the biggest rebate per new employee and tier 1 counties the smallest.
Jefferson County was determined by the AEDC to be a tier 4 county, which translates into a five percent benefit.
The AEDC website explains that a minimum payroll of new, full-time, permanent employees of $2 million annually is required for all tiers and that the minimum payroll threshold must be met within 24 months of the effective date of the financial incentive agreement.
Lou Ann Nisbett, president and CEO of the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson county, worked closely with Stant management to pair the company with the rebate program.
"The number one priority for The Alliance and the Chamber has always been industry retention and expansion," Nisbett said of the synergy created between her organization's efforts and the state incentive programs. "Our second priority is workforce development and the third is prospective development."
"Stant had the choice several years ago of closing their plant here and moving the manufacturing to another one of its existing plants so we worked with them to create workforce training programs and to secure incentives from the state," Nisbett said. "In 2009, Stant was looking to add another 50 jobs to bring them to 350 but it looks like they hired 100 or more. We set them up with the AEDC to participate in the rebate program."