AUSTIN (KXAN) - National Instruments is considering its Austin headquarters as a potential location to make a significant investment in research and development.
The proposal would result in the creation of 1,000 new jobs and $80 million in capital investment.
The governor's office said the state is providing $4.4 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund to close the deal. The state's agreement is contingent upon finalization of a local incentive package.
The city of Austin announced an economic development proposal with National Instruments on Thursday. The city said it is competing with Penang, Malaysia for the project.
Gov. Rick Perry addressed the situation as though the expansion was a done-deal for Austin.
"Central Texas' flourishing high tech industry is further strengthened by National Instruments' expansion, which will create 1,000 technical and engineering jobs and bolster Austin's status as a hub for research, development and innovation," Perry said. "Texas' continued focus on STEM education is a natural fit, and will ensure the Lone Star State continues to provide the capable workforce necessary for high tech employers like National Instruments to thrive."
The company, which designs and manufactures electronic measurement hardware and software, would hire additional engineers and technology specialists as part of the new research project. It would also include the development of a 300,000 square-foot facility adjacent to the current site in North Austin.
Local engineering students are hoping to get in on the potential hiring. 56 year-old Mark Howell is banking on research-driven, high tech companies like National Instruments will be looking to hire people like him, with a portfolio full of new engineering design skills.
Howell is one-time Dell IT worker now partway through a two-year program at Austin Community College in 3-D Computer Aided Design.
"One of the good things is, I've heard and seen actually is that a lot of the people who've graduated here and gone out into the work field are actually coming back and looking for recruits," he said.
Doug Smith, Chair at ACC's Architectural and Engineering Computer Aided Design Department says he has not seen this kind of hiring since the days when semiconductor manufacturing and design first came to Austin more than a dozen years ago.
"It's good to see a big hire happening again and it's also a high tech hire. And I think ACC is pretty well positioned for that because of all the technology we're offering now," he said.
"National Instruments was founded in Austin over 35 years ago and has grown to a global company, supplying tools to scientists and engineers around the world to accelerate productivity, innovation, and discovery," said National Instruments chief operating officer Alex Davern. "The business friendly climate in Texas, along with our commitment of intense investment in research and development, is helping drive long-term job growth and economic development in Central Texas."
According to the city, throughout the terms of the proposed agreement, the company will continue local science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) outreach program efforts at an existing or expanded level, including providing services to 3,500 Central Texas students each year.
"Austin is proud to welcome a local company investing in the pipeline of our education community," said Kevin Johns, director of the city of Austin Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office. "National Instruments STEM programs touch a broad cross section of youth and develop the next generation of the technology workforce."
Use of Texas Enterprise Funds , which were created in 2003 to help ensure the growth of Texas businesses and create more jobs, must be approved by governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.
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