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Oklahoma City to get 550 jobs from aircraft maker Boeing

Aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing is moving 550 jobs to Oklahoma City by the end of 2012.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: August 3, 2010 at 10:35 am •  Published: August 2, 2010

"We know they're going to be engineers and researchers, very highly trained and skilled people," he said.

Boeing likely will receive some kind of economic incentives from the city to move jobs here, Assistant City Manager Cathy O'Connor said.

"We don't know the amount yet," she said.

O'Connor said Boeing could be eligible for job creation grants from the city's strategic investment program, which is bankrolled by economic development funds approved by voters in 2007.

The Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust is expected to authorize the city manager to negotiate with Boeing.

Company already has Oklahoma presence

Boeing already has about 900 employees in Oklahoma, including about 700 in Oklahoma City.

The company centralized its Oklahoma City operations a couple of years ago at SE 59 and Air Depot Boulevard near Tinker Air Force Base.

Boeing spokeswoman Jennifer Hogan said the company has about 250 Oklahoma City employees working on software upgrades for B-1 bombers.

Hogan said the company intends to begin building laboratories for relocated programs immediately, with jobs to follow next spring.

Boeing plans to move multiple B-1 programs to Oklahoma City by 2012, including those working on radar and aft cockpit upgrades and new communications capabilities for the Air Force, she said.

Boeing workers also are retrofitting C-130 cargo planes with digital technology to bring them into compliance with new Federal Aviation Administration regulations for navigation and communication set to go into effect in 2015.

Those programs employ about 800 people in Southern California. About 550 positions will be relocated to Oklahoma City. The remaining positions will be reduced from the programs over the next two years as contracts are fulfilled.

Some Boeing employees will be relocated when the programs are moved, while other positions will be posted and hired locally in Oklahoma City.

Hogan said it is too soon to tell how those numbers will shake out.

Williams said other companies that have moved jobs to Oklahoma City have had more employees than expected accept relocation, but that can be an expensive proposition for employers like Boeing.

CONTRIBUTING: BUSINESS WRITER STEVE LACKMEYER