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Review: LI economic development grant recipients kept job promises

Contract Pharmacal Corp. in Hauppauge has created the

Contract Pharmacal Corp. in Hauppauge has created the most jobs among recent recipients of state economic development grants on Long Island. Credit: Jeremy Bales

All of the Long Island companies and universities receiving state economic development grants met their employment promises in 2017, a repeat of the region’s 2016 performance, according to a review published this week.

Together the 25 grant recipients have created 1,757 jobs since receiving support in recent years from Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency. They added 360 employees between 2016 and 2017.

The 22 businesses and three universities, with a combined workforce of 5,239 in 2017, promised to maintain or create jobs in return for $19.8 million in grants to purchase equipment and make improvements to buildings.

Their 100 percent compliance rate is important because it boosts Long Island’s ability to attract more aid, officials said. The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council touts the compliance rate in its annual pitch for state grants and tax credits, vying with councils representing the state’s other nine regions.

Besides the Island, only New York City and Syracuse had 100 percent compliance in 2017. The lowest compliance rate, 69.2 percent, was in the Mohawk Valley.

The record was the same in 2016. However, the Island's compliance rate was lower in 2014 and 2015 because of demise of the former Advanced Energy Systems Inc. in Medford.

"This is further evidence that ESD's programs work, and that our performance-based initiatives help businesses while ensuring they deliver real economic growth," said Cara Longworth, ESD's regional director.

The recent ESD review also measures the average cost of each job preserved or created. On the Island the average was $3,787 of grant money per job, compared with $4,774 statewide.

The top job creator was drugmaker Contract Pharmacal Corp. in Hauppauge, which has added 633 people to its payroll in the past five years, bringing the total to nearly 1,100.

Still, a couple of the grant recipients had fewer employees in 2017 than when they first received aid.

The biggest job loss, seven positions, was at Karp Associates Inc., a manufacturer of small access doors, bathroom partitions and shelves. ESD helped the company move to Melville when its Queens home was demolished to make way for bridge ramps.

Karp employed 103 people in 2017, down from 110 when it first got help. But vice president George Kosser said Thursday that hiring picked up last year with the workforce totaling 118.

“It takes longer to fill a position because of the higher employment rate,” he said, adding, “Our business is growing."

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