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JPMorgan Chase adding 1,800 jobs to First State

Banking giant J.P. Morgan Chase is vowing to bring 1,800 jobs to Delaware by 2019, marking the largest single company job expansion in the state since 1999.



That’s when AstraZeneca moved its U.S. headquarters to Wilmington and, if the benchmark were met, the new workers would push Delaware to an all-time high in employment in the financial services sector.


Joining the announcement from J.P. Morgan’s Delaware Technology Center, Gov. Jack Markell (D) says it’s a good sign for the state’s economic future.


“The expansion means more than just setting historical records for employment because one of the most successful and one of the most important companies in the world, J.P. Morgan Chase, is affirming that Delaware has embraced the new economy and is meeting the evolving needs of our employers in high-demand fields,” Markell said.


The expansion, which would bring the company’s local workforce to nearly 10,000 and making it the second largest private employer, comes with a slew of state-funded incentives.


The Delaware Economic Development Office is matching up to $3 million a year for three years for the bank’s capital expenses. Company officials estimate that total price tag for those expenses  between $150 million to $300 million spread across their existing properties in the state.


That incentive eats up nearly one-third of the agency’s Strategic Fund in the current fiscal year.


More frequent and later train services through SEPTA are also part of the plan, with Delaware Transit Corporation chipping in $1 million annually for the next three years.


In January, DTC will also change an existing bus route to run directly between Wilmington Station and the Delaware Technology Center to better accommodate commuting employees.


$1.5 million over the next three years will also go toward job training initiatives.


Bill Wallace, J.P. Morgan Chase’s chief administrative officer for Delaware, says the company plans to shift current employees from their other Wilmington facilities and spread many of the new hires throughout their network of buildings.


Wallace complimented the state’s workforce, saying it’s part of what spurred the expansion.


“It was logical to expand in this market from a technology perspective, in large part because we’ve got ready-made management structures in place and we can add to the workforce by doing it,” he said.


The announcement is a bright spot for Delaware’s large-scale employer landscape that’s recently been gloomy.


DuPont spun off its chemical division – now named Chemours – in July, with the new company announcing the shuttering of its Edge Moor factory a month later.


DuPont also moved much of its operations from downtown Wilmington to its Chestnut Run Plaza in New Castle County earlier this year, putting its future in the state’s largest city in doubt.


Bankrupt electric car manufacturer Fisker Automotive had promised 2,500 jobs by this year when they unveiled their plan in 2009, netting a $21 million package of incentives from the state that was never returned.


“We don’t really count on 1,800 [jobs] from one particularly company,” said Markell, noting the importance of organically growing the state’s business portfolio.


“It’s generally not the way economic development happens these days. It’s really more about a company of five growing to 10, a company of 10 growing to 20.”


But Markell did point to recent expansions from Capital One, Barclaycard and Croda as recent successful, large scale investments.


In 2014, J.P. Morgan got a $1.5 million state grant to bring 500 jobs to the state, which officials say has been met.


Sen. Tom Carper (D), who didn't attend the event, oversaw bringing AstraZeneca to Delaware while he was governor by improving transportation infrastructure around the site and building recreational sites for prospective employees.


'Today, it’s clear that investments in making that partnership a strong one pay off in the long term," Carper said in a statement.

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