CHARLOTTE – Health insurance giant Centene Corporation announced today that it will invest $1 billion to bring its East Coast regional headquarters to Charlotte, adding 6,000 jobs in the coming years.

“This is record-breaking news,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press conference via Webex this morning to formally disclose the jobs announcement. “It will create the largest single job creation project by headcount in the history of North Carolina’s JDIG [Job Development Investment Grant program].”

Gov. Cooper added the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $29.5 billion over 39 years.

Centene’s new positions will offer salaries that average $100,089 annually, creating a regional payroll impact of nearly $324 million per year. Compare that to Mecklenburg County’s overall average annual of $68,070.

Founded in 1984, the company currently serves more than 23 million Americans across all 50 states. Centene also operates overseas, with programs in Spain, the United Kingdom and Slovakia. Headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., the company reported nearly $75 billion in revenue for 2019, a 24.2 percent increase from the prior year, and is ranked No. 42 in the Fortune 500 list for largest corporations in the United States.

They already run Ambetter of North Carolina and have offices in Raleigh and Rocky Mount – which employ more than 600 people, according to Centene’s website.

Centene is also the parent company of Carolina Complete Health, which is one of North Carolina’s Affordable Care Act marketplace providers.

Centene chief executive Michael Neidorff said the project will initially bring 3,200 jobs, eventually building up to 6,000 new jobs in the near future.

“We chose Charlotte as the home to our East Coast headquarters because we believe it will enable us to continue our strong growth and our mission to serve the most vulnerable populations,” he said, adding the company hopes to break ground as early as this August.

“We’re a very impatient group of people.”

Meanwhile, the company has also placed a contract for an additional 50 acres, on top of the 80-plus acres under initial contract. “So that we are positioned to grow beyond those 6,000 employees,” he said.

Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland called the project a “game-changing investment” for North Carolina. “Today’s announcement adds Centene’s name to an elite list of visionary businesses that continue to make North Carolina their base for expansion strategies that span generations,” he said.

The project  will be facilitated, in part, by a transformative JDIG approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. It is the first JDIG of this classification ever awarded. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 3,237 new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $387,890,250. This potential payment would also be spread over 39 years.