GE, one of the country’s largest conglomerates, launched a four-day conference about growing the American economy by promising to hire 5,000 veterans over the next five years.
The vow is one of many that General Electric Co. made Monday as it began welcoming senators, mayors, governors and executives from companies such as Boeing, Dow Chemical and Google to its Washington, D.C., confab.
By 2013, GE said it will open three new aviation factories in the U.S. -- in Mississippi, Alabama and Ohio. This year, the Fairfield, Conn.-based company said it will invest $580 million to grow its domestic aviation capabilities.
On the employment front, GE said it will add more than 400 new aviation manufacturing positions and pair with the Chamber of Commerce to train veterans in 50 cities in the job hunt.
The company will add to its staff of more than 19,000 engineers by doubling the size of its engineering internship program to more than 5,000 spots. GE hires about 80% of its engineers from its internship pool.
“American business can compete and win anywhere,” GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement Monday. The company is involved in a range of industries, including electricity, finance, aviation, medical and more.
Immelt chairs President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, whose members include the chief executives of Xerox, Southwest Airlines, Proctor & Gamble and more. One of the council’s initiatives is to boost the number of engineer graduates in the country to 10,000 a year.
GE’s stock was up just less than a percent in midday trading in New York, hovering around $19.