The Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) is a performance-based, discretionary incentive program that provides cash grants directly to new and expanding companies to help offset the cost of locating or expanding a facility in the state. The amount of the grant is based on a percentage of the personal income tax withholdings associated with the new jobs.
The amount of a JDIG award is calculated by weighing a number of factors to determine its potential value, including the location of the project, the county tier designation, the number of net new jobs, the wages of the jobs compared to the county average wage, the level of investment and whether the industry is one of the state’s targeted industry sectors. Grant funds are disbursed annually, for up to 12 years, to approved companies following the satisfaction of performance criteria set out in grant agreements.
The N.C. Department of Commerce annually ranks the state’s 100 counties based on economic well-being and assigns each a tier designation. The 40 most distressed counties are designated as Tier 1, the next 40 as Tier 2, and the 20 least distressed as Tier 3. This tier system is incorporated into JDIG to encourage economic activity in the less prosperous areas of the state.
For projects located in a Tier 1 county:
100% of the annual grant is paid to the company.
For projects located in a Tier 2 county:
90% of the annual grant is paid to the company, and 10% is transferred to the Utility Account, a state program to fund infrastructure projects in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties.
For projects located in a Tier 3 county:
75% of the annual grant is paid to the company, and 25% is transferred into the Utility Account.
The JDIG program also has provisions that allow for enhanced awards for qualifying project types, including High-Yield Projects (HYP), Transitional Projects, and Transformative Projects. Companies approved for an enhanced award can receive a grant worth up to 90% of the personal income withholdings, while the amount of the grant worth the remaining 10% is transferred to the Utility Account.
The High-Yield Project (HYP) provision applies to any company that creates 1,750 jobs and invests $500 million. The base period, the time frame within which new hires must be made, is up to 5 years and the maximum term of the grant is 20 years.
The Transitional Project provision applies to projects that occur in stages. For Phase I Transitional Projects, the company must create 1,750 jobs and invest $1 billion. The applicable base period is up to 5 years with a maximum grant term of 20 years. To trigger Phase II of the Transitional Projects provision, a company must exercise an option to expand the project within the first 36 months, up to at least 3,875 jobs and at least $3 billion of investment. For a company receiving an enhanced award for Phase II of the project, the base period is up to 10 years and the grant term is equal to the base period plus 30 years.
The Transformative Project provision applies to any company that creates 3,000 jobs and invests $1 billion. The base period is up to 10 years and the maximum grant term is the base period plus 30 years.
For more information on county tier designations, visit our County Development Tier Designations page.
There are no restrictions on the use of JDIG funds. The company can use JDIG funds for any purpose.
Basic Requirements for Eligibility
In order for a project to be considered for JDIG, the following criteria must be met:
- The project must be competitive with locations outside North Carolina and remain competitive until the grant is formally awarded.
- The project results in a net increase in the company’s employment in North Carolina. JDIG cannot be used to incent job retention.
- The project increases opportunities for employment and strengthens the state’s economy.
- The project is consistent with the economic development goals of the state and of the area in which it is located.
- The project must meet the county average wage requirement.
- The grant must be necessary for the completion of the project in North Carolina.
- The benefits to the state outweigh the costs, rendering the grant appropriate for the project.
- The company must provide health insurance and pay at least 50% of the premiums for participating employees.
- The company must meet statutory occupational safety and environmental compliance requirements.
- For a project in a Tier 3 county, the local government(s) must provide incentives.
A five-member Economic Investment Committee (EIC) evaluates projects and makes decisions regarding JDIG awards. The North Carolina Department of Commerce administers the program on behalf of the EIC. Grant applicants are required to pay a $10,000 nonrefundable fee with the submission of a completed application if the project is either a high-yield project, transformative or located in a Tier 3 area, $5,000 if the project locates to a Tier 2 area, and $1,000 if the project locates in a Tier 1 area. Grant recipients are also required to pay an annual fee with the submission of each annual report, when filed with the Department of Commerce. The annual fee amount is the greater of $2,500 or .03% of the grant amount awarded to the company. The amount of a grant associated with any specific position may not exceed $16,000 in any year. North Carolina statute requires that the company maintain operations at the project location, or at another approved site in North Carolina, for at least 150% of the term of the grant.
For more information about the Job Development Investment Grant or information regarding a new company relocation or expansion project, contact the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina at (919) 447-7777 or by filling out our online form.
The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina does not award or administer this incentive. All economic development incentives are awarded and administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.