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GE Pledges $50M For Local Initiatives Over 5 Years

General Electric will move to a 2.5-acre site in Fort Point that includes two older brick buildings and a portion of a parking lot. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
General Electric will move to a 2.5-acre site in Fort Point that includes two older brick buildings and a portion of a parking lot. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)

Ahead of moving its corporate headquarters to Boston, General Electric Co. announced Monday it will donate $50 million over the next five years to several initiatives in the Greater Boston community.

Half of the commitment — $25 million — will go to Boston Public Schools, the company said in a press release. The money will go toward preparing city high school students for "tomorrow's workforce," GE said.

The donation will also fund so-called "Brilliant Career Labs," the release said, "with both physical and virtual locations to allow students a unique hands-on experience with advanced manufacturing technology."

A further $15 million of the pledge will go toward training at Boston community health centers, and $10 million will go to programs to increase workforce diversity, according to the GE press release.

“Together GE and Boston will lead the digital transformation of industry," CEO Jeff Immelt said in the release. "To build a global digital company and community, we must invest to further educate our children in science and math and improve health care in underserved communities. GE’s investments will create thousands of new jobs and support Boston’s regional and economic activities."

The donation comes from the GE Foundation, GE's philanthropic arm.

The announcement came hours before GE executives were set to appear with Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh at a news conference to give more details about the company's move to Boston.

In January, the global conglomerate announced it would move its headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut, to Boston.

While officials have celebrated the move, some in Massachusetts have criticized the lucrative package of tax incentives the state and city offered GE before it picked Boston for its headquarters. City and state officials have said the package will be more than offset by GE's impact locally.

A group critical of the incentives offered to GE is expected to protest Tuesday's news conference.

Late last month, the company picked the location for its headquarters: a 2.5-acre location along Fort Point Channel, in Boston's Seaport District.

The permanent complex will be home to about 800 GE employees, and is expected to be completed in 2018.

Along with the philanthropic pledges, Tuesday's GE press release included details of an economic study that found that the company's move will add 4,000 jobs to the Boston area, between temporary construction positions and jobs held by GE employees and the company's vendors.

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Benjamin Swasey Twitter Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital manager. He occasionally reports about economic and transportation policy, social issues and politics.

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