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Merck bringing 400 jobs to its Durham manufacturing facility

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A more than $650 million investment between biopharmaceutical company Merck and Durham and Wilson counties will bring new jobs to the area.

The investment will help Merck add nearly 400 new jobs to its vaccine manufacturing facility in Durham.

Merck announced in July that they would expand its Durham-based facility.

The announcement, the third expansion this year for Durham County, follows an $8.8 million incentive package from the North Carolina Department of Commerce that includes $4.97 million tied to a Job Development Investment Grant.

“The Board of County Commissioners is excited about these great new manufacturing jobs as well as the significant capital investment Merck is making in Durham County,” said Commissioner Chair Wendy Jacobs.

Exactly 391 jobs will be up for grabs once everything is complete, according to a Durham County news release.

According to Chair Jacobs, “One of our priorities is making sure we have a wide variety of jobs available to Durham residents. We will be working with Merck and community partners to strengthen our education to work pipeline to prepare Durham residents for these great jobs. Besides having living wage jobs for people of all backgrounds, having a strong tax base with a mixture of commercial, residential and office development is good for Durham residents. In addition to the more than $1 billion that Merck has invested in their Durham County facilities, this $650 million investment will help provide the property tax revenue we need to fund our public schools and county services.”

The enlarged footprint for the Merck plant is scheduled to be completed in 2023. It is located in Treyburn Corporate Park, which is situated in the north region of Durham. 

The project will enable the biopharmaceutical company to further produce the human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil, a shot designed to protect against cervical, vaginal, vulvar and anal cancers.

“This project maintains momentum in the life sciences industry where related companies make investments here as a result,” said Durham County Economic Development Officer Andy Miracle.

New jobs related to this project are expected to start coming online in the summer of 2021 when the vaccine facility is scheduled to be completed.

The manufacturing jobs associated with the development will include operations positions with a starting pay of $61,000 and benefits, and support functions jobs starting at $80,500. 

“Merck’s expansion has significance on many levels for Durham County,” Durham County Economic Development Officer Andy Miracle said. The capital investment made by the County and State will positively impact the property tax base growth in Durham. The increase will assist in the funding of public schools and pay for services and programs for all residents. While Merck continues its work to develop medicines and vaccines in Durham, the global leader has also committed to working closely with Durham Public Schools, Durham Technical Community College, North Carolina Central University’s BRITE Center, North Carolina Works, and other organizations that can support the pipeline for Durham residents to be prepared for employment opportunities associated with the biopharmaceutical company’s expansion.

According to Miracle, “Merck has a track record of engaging workforce development partners and it’s a great deal for Durham County.”

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