After four years in the Marines, including a stint in Iraq - Syracuse, N.Y., resident Josh Brown landed a job in his hometown.

But his employer is not from around here.

Brown works for Bitzer Scroll, a German based manufacturer of refrigerator compressors. The company invested more than $20 million in the Syracuse facility. Production, which began last April, is in a small section of a vacant General Motors plant. According to Brown, if Bitzer hadn’t offered him a job he might have had to consider re-enlisting with the military or face long-term unemployment.

The company says it chose Syracuse because it found a work force with the right skills. Tax breaks and a $1.4 million state grant were less important incentives.

The facility employs 36 workers and is expected to increase prodution in the next several years. Bitzer Scroll General Manager, Mike McKeee, says if things go as planned, more than 200 jobs could be created.

Nationally, last year alone, $325 billion was invested directly in the U.S. from overseas to create, merge or acquire businesses.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, foreign firms in the U.S. employ 5.3 million people, about 4.6 percent of the private workforce.

Salaries are more than competitive. Foreign companies pay workers an average of $68,000 a year, 25 percent higher than U.S. establishments.

The Metropolitan Development Associations of Syracuse and Central New York says Bitzer Scroll's move to the region is just the beginning of an aggressive campaign to attract overseas dollars.

According to MDA President Robert Simpson, the association “just launched a three year, $1.2 million business development effort” to build global relationships.

The local and statewide effort to attract foreign businesses seems to be paying off. Earlier this month, India based Reva Electric Car Compnay announced plans to build automobiles in Syracuse. The company will license its technology to a U.S. manufacturer, Bannon Automotive, which hopes to create 300 jobs and have its first car roll off the assembly line in less than a year.

Dennis Mullen of the Empire State Development Association says, “ I think we have to be competitive with other states on an international basis,” adding that New York State has a well trained and educated workforce and offers good locations for product distriubution.

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