Arizona awarded 7 incentive grants to create 5,000 new jobs in 2020, report shows
Seven companies promising to create 5,195 new jobs in the state were awarded incentive grants from the Arizona Competes Fund in the 2020 fiscal year, according to the annual report released by the Arizona Commerce Authority, which oversees the fund.
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The grants awarded in the fiscal year, which are designated to attract, retain or expand Arizona enterprises, totaled $8.25 million. Fiscal year 2020 ran from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.
The largest grant awarded was for electric vehicle manufacturer Nikola Corp., which received $3.5 million and promised to create 2,012 jobs with an average wage of $65,000 at its manufacturing plant now under construction in Coolidge, in Pinal County south of Phoenix.
The electric vehicle manufacturer came under fire earlier this year after a scathing report from Hindenburg Research claimed Nikola’s technology did not work and alleged that company founder Trevor Milton had falsified claims about the company’s technological capabilities, prompting an investigation by the Justice Department. Nikola has adamantly denied those claims, although Milton has since left the company.
Other awards in the 2020 fiscal year were:
- Mark Anthony Brewing Inc., awarded $1.25 million to create 250 new jobs with an average salary of $42,614, at a Glendale production facility for White Claw beverages.
- Allstate Insurance Co., awarded $1 million to create 2,350 new jobs in Chandler with an average salary of $44,889 and retain 791 jobs with an average salary of $65,139.
- NortonLifeLock Inc., awarded $1 million to create 150 new jobs in Tempe with an average salary of $157,000 and retain 451 jobs with an average salary of $81,000.
- 23andMe Inc., awarded $500,000 to create 52 jobs in Phoenix with an average salary of $100,000.
- Universal Electronics Inc., awarded $500,000 to create131 jobs in Scottsdale with an average salary of $103,684.
- Choice Hotels International Inc., awarded $500,000 to create 250 new jobs in Scottsdale with an average salary of $90,473 and retain 147 jobs with an average salary of $99,106.
The Arizona Competes Fund offers a variety of grants to both businesses and municipalities, including Rural Economic Development grants that are designed to partially reimburse municipalities for qualifying rural infrastructure projects that will generate private job creation, and the Arizona Innovation Challenge, which is a business plan competition that encourages new technologies and small business growth. However, the largest grant applications and biggest disbursements come from the grants to attract, expand or retain Arizona basic enterprises.
Companies are required to reach the hiring and salary benchmarks by the end of a predetermined performance period and can be awarded prorated amounts if they do not meet their commitments.
Two companies finished their performance periods in 2020: Scottsdale-based global manufacturer Carlisle Cos. Inc. and aluminum container maker Ball Metal Beverage Corp. Carlisle was awarded a prorated amount of $827,500 after falling short of the job creation commitment, hiring 107 instead of the projected 130. The company exceeded the projected annual salary commitment, with an average annual salary for jobs created of $224,565. Ball Corp. was awarded the full amount proposed, $750,000, hiring 201 employees in Glendale, more than the projected 130. Ball Corp. also exceeded the expected average salary, with an average of $69,901.
There are 27 companies still in their performance periods, including those awarded in 2020, which committed to creating a total of 19,562 jobs, requesting a total of $44.05 million in incentives.