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Centre County commissioners are poised to pledge $40,000 to a local technology manufacturer that’s planning to double its workforce.
Boalsburg-based Sensor Networks Inc. announced plans in November to expand its operating space along with its staff over the next few years.
On Tuesday, an executive with the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County asked the commissioners for a public investment in the company. The five-figure contribution would be delivered through the county’s Economic Development Partnership, a group that includes private businesses and local municipalities.
Sensor “is on a steady growth trajectory, and they’re making a positive impact on the local economy and job creation,” said Jennifer Myers, the CBICC vice president of economic development, in remarks before the commissioners. “The CCEDP investment will support the purchase of a critical piece of machinery that will enable Sensor Networks to ramp up its expansion, including the hiring of new employees more quickly than it otherwise would.”
The company, which designs and fabricates industrial sensors and ultrasonic transducers, has slightly fewer than 50 employees, Myers said. It hopes to add 50 new “family-sustaining” jobs with wages well above the county average over the next three years, she said.
Commissioners Chairman Michael Pipe said the board attended an informational presentation on the expansion and feels $40,000 is a fair contribution. The money would come from county “contingency funding,” or set-aside funds in the budget, he said.
“This is an opportunity to retain a very solid technology company and at the same time allow them to expand, and I think this is one of those investments that will see itself in spades grow over the course of time,” Commissioner Steve Dershem said.
The funding will hinge on the company’s adherence to a performance-based agreement, which will detail how long the group plans to stay in the area and how many jobs it will create, Myers said. That agreement remains in the works.
Commissioners have yet to take a final vote on the funding. Sensor Networks has already offered a commitment to stay in the area “for a longer period of time than usual,” Myers said.
“We can be confident that they’re not going to pick up and leave,” she said.
Commissioner Mark Higgins said Sensor’s commitment to stay is a result of collaboration among governmental and non-profit entities.