Cummins Technical Center Charleston, a designer and tester of diesel engines and parts, today announced plans to expand its North Charleston operations in a $24 million investment that will create 31 new jobs immediately.

"The expansion nearly doubles capacity at this site with state-of-the-art facilities to enable testing on diesel, natural gas and biofuel engines and help the company in its drive to be the innovation leader in the industry," said Jim Trueblood, vice president of Cummins High Horsepower Engineering.

Incentives from state and local officials, a skilled workforce and Charleston's amenities played a role in the decision to expand locally, said Gary Johnson, operations manager of Cummins Technical Center. "Having a company facility that could be renovated was an important factor as well," he said.

Cummins Technical Center Charleston is a research and development center. The center focuses primarily on diesel engine technology but alternate fuels technology is an important part of their work as well.

"It's exciting to see another South Carolina business succeed and build on its presence here," Gov. Nikki Haley said in a prepared statement.

Since the beginning of the year, South Carolina has recruited more than $3.3 billion in investment and more than 11,000 new jobs in the manufacturing sector, the state Commerce Department said.

"South Carolina's manufacturing sector continues to grow and create wealth. Cummins has been an important part of the South Carolina business community for years, and this announcement is another indication of the company's commitment to our state," said Bobby Hitt, secretary of commerce.

Cummins has operated in the region for more than three decades. Cummins had previously announced expanded operations in Charleston in July 2008.

"As one of Charleston County's most long-standing corporate citizens, Cummins has been a major employer in our community for the past 30 years. This exciting news concerning the growth of the Technical Center in North Charleston is a gratifying testimonial to the company's faith in our workforce," said Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor. "The Cummins Technical Center provides cutting edge automotive R&D careers that are the envy of any community, and the expansion of this critical facility grows our regional 'brain power.' Charleston County is proud to be a partner with Cummins, and we look forward to supporting this expansion team for many years to come."

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved the company for job development credits, which will be available when hiring targets are met.

The company will begin hiring for the new positions immediately. Anyone interested in job opportunities with the company should apply through Monster.com.

Read more in Thursday's editions of The Post and Courier.