RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that Centene Corp., a Fortune 50 provider of managed care services for public and private health plans, will create an East Coast regional headquarters and technology hub in Charlotte. This move will bring 3,237 new jobs to North Carolina and an investment of $1,034,900,790 by 2032.
Centene’s 3,237-job commitment makes the company’s new Mecklenburg County campus the largest job-creation project in the 18-year history of the Job Development Investment Grant program.
“Centene’s investment here is great for the Charlotte area and our whole state,” Cooper said. “Centene knows that North Carolina has a resilient economy, ready workforce, livable communities and a host of other assets that make our state a leading destination for forward-thinking businesses.”
Centene Corp. provides high-quality health and wellness services for people covered by private health insurers, Medicare, Medicaid and government-sponsored plans for military personnel, veterans and correctional facilities. Founded in 1984, the company serves more than 23 million Americans across all 50 states. Centene also operates overseas, with patient-centered services offered through programs in Spain, the United Kingdom and Slovakia. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, the company reported nearly $75 billion in revenue for 2019, a 24.2 percent increase from the prior year.
“We chose Charlotte as the home to our East Coast headquarters because we believe it will enable us to continue our strong growth and our mission to serve the most vulnerable populations,” said Michael Neidorff, chairman, president and CEO of Centene. “We look forward to our future in Charlotte and intend to be a strong part of the community, as we are in all of the places where we have business operations.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s efforts to attract Centene’s regional headquarters and I/T center. The company will retain its existing nearly 600-person workforce at offices in North Carolina. Its expanded workforce will include allied health professionals, data analysts, information-technology specialists, administrators and others. Centene’s new positions will offer salaries that average $100,089 annually, creating a regional payroll impact of nearly $324 million per year. Mecklenburg County’s overall average annual wage is $68,070.
“The choice of our state for this game-changing investment is evidence that companies view North Carolina not only as the ideal backdrop for their business plans, but a safe location for their employees,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “Today’s announcement adds Centene’s name to an elite list of visionary businesses that continue to make North Carolina their base for expansion strategies that span generations.”
Centene’s project in North Carolina will be facilitated, in part, by a transformative JDIG approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee, the first JDIG of this classification ever awarded. The project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $29.5 billion over 39 years, the time period the grant could be active. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 3,237 new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $387,890,250. This potential payment would also be spread over 39 years.
Like all grants from the JDIG program, any state payments only occur after performance verification each year by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets.
Because Centene chose a site in Mecklenburg County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 3, the company’s JDIG agreement calls for moving as much as $50.7 million into the state’s Industrial Development Fund — Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities finance basic infrastructure upgrades necessary in attracting businesses. Even when new jobs are created in a Tier 3 county such as Mecklenburg, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps economically challenged communities elsewhere in the state.
The North Carolina General Assembly introduced the Transformative project classification to the JDIG program in 2017. Economic development projects from companies that invest more than $1 billion and create more than 3,000 jobs can qualify for the special grant classification, which alters certain parameters of the program such as the length of time the grant can be active and the percentage of state tax withholdings that can be used to fund the grant.
“Centene is a leading name in health care management with a proven track record as a purpose-driven company that values customers, employees and communities,” said N.C. Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed. “I look forward to working with Centene as they expand access to quality health care, strengthen our community, and build out their Mecklenburg County operations.”
In addition to the N.C. Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Mecklenburg County, the city of Charlotte, the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, University City Partners and Duke Energy.
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