IBM may add 600 workers in Oregon

BEAVERTON — State and city officials say IBM will hire 600 new employees in Beaverton, as the computer giant expands its presence in the state. IBM's acquisition of Beaverton-based Wilshire Credit Corp. along with the introduction of new mortgage software may be fueling the need.

Beaverton and state officials had been working with IBM to bring the expansion to Oregon. Beaverton and the state will contribute $350,000 total for IBM to train the work force. Officials say that IBM is expected to spend about $8 million in capital improvements for the expansion.

"We were very pleased," said Jill Miles, the state's national recruitment officer. "When you get something like this, everything else goes by the wayside and this is your focus, because the return to the state is so great."

With Oregon's unemployment rates staying high, officials welcomed IBM. In May, the rate hovered around 10.6 percent.

Officials said they don't know when the new jobs will start, but said retraining will begin as soon as July.

About 90 of the new jobs are expected to go to Salem, where Wilshire Credit had a campus. IBM has been in Oregon since the 1990s. In Beaverton, IBM has its Linux Technology Center. Wilshire has about 710 employees, with about half in Salem.

"We are able to bring new jobs to our community when area residents need them most," said Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle in a statement.

Beaverton spokeswoman Amy Miner said the new jobs are expected to carry salaries averaging between $35,000 to $50,000 a year.

IBM did not return phone calls seeking comment.

"These guys, they're pretty low key," Miles said. "They're not about the bells and whistles."

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