RALEIGH – Corning, which already employs thousands of people across North Carolina, is going to build another manufacturing plant and add hundreds of jobs in Hickory.

Corning Optical Communications, which is part of Corning, said it would add 200 jobs paying an average salary of $55,000 at the facility which will be built in Hickory. The focus of the plant will be optical cable manufacturing.

The company has committed an investment of $150 million in the expansion.

“With this capacity expansion, Corning is addressing demand from leading network operators — in particular AT&T, which previously announced plans to significantly expand its fiber footprint,” said Michael Bell, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Optical Communications, in a later press announcement. “We believe the industry is in the early stages of a major growth cycle, and we’re turning once again to the highly skilled local workforce in Catawba County to help us meet the demand.

The N.C. Department of Commerce’s Economic Investment Committee agreed to provide a $2 million Job Development Investment Grant if all job creation and job retention targets are met.

“As we celebrate Manufacturing Week in our state, it’s exciting to see a global manufacturer like Corning expand yet again in a great rural county like Catawba,” said Governor Roy Cooper in a statement. “Corning understands North Carolina’s strengths as a business location, thanks to their firsthand experience with our skilled workforce, customized training programs and great quality of life.”

Corning also will receive community college training for workers and local incentives.