Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RALEIGH, N.C. – One of the people with the biggest reasons to smile at the press conference where Red Hat disclosed it would keep and expand its corporate headquarters in Wake County was Stephen Scott, president of Wake Tech Community College.

Wake Tech is in position to help deliver future employees Red Hat will need – and to help train current workers who might need additional skills just as it is helping train future biotech workers. And Scott’s proposal to Red Hat helped seal the deal announced Monday. (Read the details here.)

The college is putting forth a package worth $600,000 that also could help other companies in search of employees trained in open source software such as Linux.

A smiling Scott told and Local Tech Wire that Tech will build the Red Hat Open Source Center at its campus in northeast Raleigh as part of its commitment to help the Linux software and services company grow its work force.

Including the naming rights for the center, Scott said the package was part of the local community’s incentives that that helped convince Red Hat not to move from North Carolina. The state is providing some $15 million in state tax rebates as part of a Job Development Investment Grant. The rebates are based on state employee withholding taxes paid by red Hat for newly created jobs.

“We will be training existing and new Red Hat employees,” Scott said. “We’ll provide training in information technology, customer service and software development.”

Red Hat Chief Executive Officer Jim Whitehurst and Gov. Bev Perdue cited access to a skilled work force as one of the reasons Red Hat chose not to move.

Scott said Wake Tech would also expand its curriculum for open source development.

“We will not only be training current employees for Red Hat but also training future workers,” Scott said. “We will help Red Hat meet the capacity they need.”

Wake Tech already is part of a consortium training future biotech workers. Its own video game development lab is helping the Triangle’s growing entertainment sector find programmers and developers. Now comes open source.

Keeping Red Hat in Wake County is a “big, big win,” Scott said. “We are extremely happy, and deservedly so.”

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