IBM is increasing its nanotechnology investment in New York and pledging to retain thousands of jobs while adding hundreds more, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
The company said it would keep up to 3,100 high-tech jobs over the next two years at its plants in New York and add about 750 new jobs, which were mostly lost to layoffs in September.
“This agreement will keep thousands of high-tech jobs in New York and maintains IBM’s strong commitment to stay and grow in our state,” Cuomo said.
The agreement with the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany calls for IBM to maintain 2,350 jobs in New York and add 750 jobs at its semiconductor plants in Albany, Dutchess County and Yorktown Heights.
IBM will also be bringing 500 new jobs to the Buffalo area. They will set up shop in a new computer information technology center there, with $55 million in state funding.
The news follows Alliance@IBM’s report earlier this month that more job cuts would be hitting IBM employees in New York. The national IBM employees’ union said the cuts would target facilities in East Fishkill, Poughkeepsie and Essex, Vt., by the end of February.
“The commitment for 3,100 jobs being safe is still problematic,” said Lee Conrad, national coordinator for Alliance@IBM. “It still leaves room for further job cuts, considering the total employee population.”
The company currently has about 7,000 employees in Dutchess County. Nearly 700 IBM workers were laid off in the county in September.
Employees at the nanocollege were not expected to be touched. IBM, along with GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung and TSMC, is part of a $4.8 billion partnership focused on next-generation computer chip research at the college.
IBM has been looking into the option of selling its computer chip business, recently tapping Goldman Sachs to explore alternatives for its semiconductor arm. GlobalFoundries and TSMC have been mentioned as potential buyers.
Jim McGregor, founder and principal analyst at Tirias Research, said “it doesn’t make sense” for IBM to be in the computer chip business because the company hasn’t made revenue in semiconductors.
“I don’t think semiconductors will last as part of IBM. We will have to see if somebody buys it,” McGregor said. “I think GlobalFoundries is the most likely buyer, and it would be a huge opportunity for them.”
GlobalFoundries, which has a sprawling chip manufacturing plant in Malta, has been expanding its facility with the construction of a technology development center, which officials say will be completed by the end of the year.
The company, with manufacturing centers also in Germany and Singapore, received approval in August from the towns of Malta and Stillwater to build a second production plant at the Luther Forest Technology Campus. GlobalFoundries has not announced whether it will move forward with the expansion.