HP to hire 200 ‘highly-skilled’ employees in 2014

LITTLE ROCK — Hewlett-Packard said Wednesday it will add 200 high-paying and highly-skilled positions at its Conway facility next year.

The announcement comes less than six months after HP announced it was laying off about 500 at the $28 million support facility in an effort to streamline its operations.

“The jobs are … higher-skilled engineers, programming engineers and management positions, higher paid jobs because of a need HP has across the nation with regard to health care information delivery, Medicaid and all those things,” Gov. Mike Beebe said during a news conference at the state Capitol.

After the news conference, Arkansas Department of Economic Development Director Grant Tennille said the agency is still negotiating with HP on how much the company should reimburse the state for incentives HP received when it opened the facility in 2008. Under that agreement, HP had to have at least 1,000 employees working at the center by the end of this year.

With the additional 200 employees to be added next year, the number of employees at the Conway facility will be between 600-700, Beebe said Wednesday.

“Adding this back in is a major positive for HP and for Arkansas and for Conway,” the governor said. “And the type of jobs in particular are significant.”

John Herzog, an account executive with HP, declined to specify how much the new jobs would pay, but he described them as higher-paying than the salaries now being paid at the facility.

“We’re just very pleased to be providing these high-quality positions and hiring folks here in Central Arkansas and Conway, and expanding our presence in the Conway facility,” Herzog said. “We think Arkansas is a great place to expand our growing government and commercial health care business.”

HP announced in 2008 it would locate in Conway, and the company moved into a 150,000 square-foot facility located on 180 acres in Meadows Technology Park in January 2010.

The incentives HP received at the time included $10 million from the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund for infrastructure; sales and use tax refunds on building materials and taxable machinery; a 1 percent income tax credit for payroll for new jobs for five years; and a cash rebate equal to 5 percent of payroll for 10 years.