The Shaw Group, a multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 firm, will add 556 jobs and invest $35 million in its Charlotte-based operations, Gov. Mike Easley and the company announced Wednesday.

The state helped land the expansion with tax incentives worth as much as $12.67 million through a job development grant.

Shaw Power Group, a provider of engineering and other services, already employs 780 people at its headquarters in the Queen City and 165 at another facility in the western part of Charlotte.

The parent Shaw Group is based in Baton Rouge, La.

Shaw Power Group works primarily with utility companies such as Progress Energy and Duke Power.

The new jobs in Charlotte will be for engineers and designers as well as professional and administrative positions. Average salaries will be $81,000, according to the governor’s office.

“The Shaw Group is enthusiastic about the expanding role Charlotte will play as our Power Group headquarters,” said J.M. Berhnard Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of The Shaw Group. “The state’s high-quality secondary education system and regional universities as well as the tremendous talent pool in the region were key factors in our decision to expand in Charlotte.”

Shaw Group was founded in 1987.

The North Carolina Economic Investment Committee approved the Job Development Investment Grant for Shaw Group on Wednesday. As part of the agreement, Shaw Group will make a $4.2 million payment to the state’s Industrial Development Fund for infrastructure improvements in North Carolina counties identified as economically distressed.

For each year under the 10-year plan that Shaw Group meets required performance targets for job growth the state will provide a grant equal to 70 percent of the state personal income tax withheld from wages for new jobs.