State financial incentives awarded Thursday will help the Beehive State's employment picture.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development Board on Thursday approved $7.2 million dollars in tax credits and grants for three firms' expansions that would create approximately 760 new jobs in Utah over the next decade.

The board unanimously approved a $1.27 million incentive — a mix of a grant and refundable tax credit — for Fairchild Semiconductor to help the technology company retrofit and upgrade its West Jordan fabrication facility. Fairchild plans to invest $45.9 million in capital improvements over the next three years and create 65 new positions over four years that pay at least 25 percent above the annual Salt Lake County average wage.

The company current employs 473 workers at the facility.

"Recognizing the fierce competitive environment we operate in, our goal is to make the site more cost-effective," Mark Thompson, Fairchild's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We ... want to thank the state of Utah for their willingness to encourage local business growth, and recognize the dedication of our work force and the availability of local talent in Utah."

Merit Medical Systems, a medical device manufacturer headquartered in South Jordan, was approved for a $4.36 million refundable tax credit to expand the company's presence in Utah. Merit Medical plans to invest more than $11 million to develop life sciences operations in Murray, West Jordan and South Jordan.

"We appreciate the confidence and support of the state as we continue to build our business, hire new employees and advance our technology for future growth in Utah," Fred Lampropoulos, Merit Medical's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a news release.

The proposed expansion would create 392 new jobs at salaries paying at least 25 percent above the Salt Lake County annual average wage over the next 10 years.

In August 2004, Merit Medical was approved for a $1 million incentive for the creation of 600 new full-time jobs over five years.

The board Thursday also approved a $1.75 million dollar refundable tax credit incentive for MediConnect Global, a medical record and document management firm based in South Jordan, to expand its operations in Ephraim, Sanpete County. The expansion will add more than 300 full-time positions that match the current annual county median average wage, resulting in $45.5 million in new state wages over the next decade.

"We welcome the growth of MediConnect in rural Utah," Spencer Eccles, GOED's executive director, said in a prepared statement.

"High-technology information services jobs working in the health care, legal and insurance industries are the type of positions that will benefit the citizens of Ephraim by providing for a secure future."

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