GE to bring 400 jobs to the East Bay


General Electric is taking up the entire top floor of an office building in Bishop Ranch, plus additional space on other floors. The space is currently empty but will be buzzing with new hires early next year.

GE, ranked number six among the largest American corporations, will host its global software headquarters and 400 jobs in the Bishop Ranch building. GE Vice President Bill Ruh says GE had to set up shop in the Bay Area.

"I often think the great software companies today are not in the business of selling software," Ruh said. "They're actually in the business of using software to transform an industry, and most of that is coming out of this region."

GE wants to foster innovation -- new ways that software can make the company's products do more, ranging from jet engines to locomotives and power plants to medical diagnostic devices.

"Things like CAT scans and MRI devices...become more intelligent, and this idea of intelligent devices on the internet is where we're going to be putting our attention," Ruh said.

GE says it's looking, not just for software engineers, but also for product designers, marketing and sales people -- 400 new jobs in a county with 52,000 unemployed people.

"It moves the needle slightly," said Tracey Nicks with the Workforce Development Board, "but maybe not enough."

Nicks tracks the pulse of the job market in Contra Costa County for the workforce development board. GE says 400 jobs will help to a degree, but layoffs continue to outpace hiring.

"When we look at the number of engineers that are out there waiting for jobs to come up, then yes, it's Christmas for them," Nicks said.

There will also be a potential boost for the real estate sector and restaurants.

While GE is creating 400 new jobs in San Ramon, it has already hired 50 people who are now working in temporary offices nearby. That still leaves 350 jobs to fill early next year.

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