Local News

High-Tech Jobs May Soon Be Moving Back To Triangle

Posted November 13, 2003 4:37 a.m. EST

— After several years of massive layoffs and aggressive cost cutting, there is good news about the high-tech industry in the Triangle. Germany-based


is bringing new jobs to the area, and the company is still hiring.

Tom Drabenstott said he could not be happier to be at work. He was out of a job for 10 months when Vitesse Semiconductor shut down its operations in Research Triangle Park.

"Part of the stress involved in that time was my wife was pregnant with our first child," he said.

Now, Drabenstott can provide for that child with his job at the new offices of Infineon Technology in Cary. Drabenstott is an engineer for the company, which makes memory chips for personal computers, personal digital assistants and other equipment.

Infineon employs about 150 people at the Cary office and expects to grow to 400 by 2007. The salaries average $75,000, but officials are cautious about whether the jobs signal a turn around in the high-tech industry.

"We are seeing some traction in the marketplace, but I don't want to be too gleeful," said Joan Myers of NCEITA, a nonprofit trade association for the high-tech industry.

While Myers thinks it is a great sign the Triangle attracted Infineon, she said the area needs to make sure companies already in the Triangle stay here.

"What can we do to see continued growth for the Cree's or Red Hat's here?" Myers said. "They have choices, global choices of where they are going to grow their business. What are we doing to see that they make the investment to grow jobs here?"

Infineon is the first recipient of the state's Job Development Investment Grant. Infineon will receive $9.5 million if it creates 400 jobs by 2007 and sustains those jobs for 11 years.

However, the past few years have not been kind to thousands of workers in RTP. In August 2002, telecom giant Nortel announced 7,000 job cuts on top of 2,500 other positions it had eliminated since December 2000. In June, more than 200 employees at Sony Ericsson lost their jobs.