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CGI Plans Technology Center At University of Louisiana Research Park In Lafayette

Area Development Online News Desk (04/29/2014)
An information technology and business process services firm, CGI announced the company’s selection of Lafayette’s Research Park at the University of Louisiana for the establishment of a technology center that is expected to create 400 jobs.

The technology center, which will become an anchor tenant of the 143-acre Research Park, will develop complex business and IT solutions for clients seeking services from a technology partner that shares a common time zone, language and understanding of client business operations.

CGI will lease space for its center in a new 50,000-square-foot, $13.1 million building that is being funded by the State of Louisiana at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Research Park. The building will be owned by UL Lafayette or its affiliated, nonprofit support organization, Ragin’ Cajun Facilities Inc. Construction will begin this year and will be completed by year-end 2015.

As an incentive to secure the project, Louisiana Economic Development offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a performance-based grant of $5.3 million to reimburse personnel relocation, recruitment, training and building operating costs. CGI will receive the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart and is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Digital Interactive Media and Software Development incentives.

Local incentives for the project will include a grant not to exceed $1.1 million from the Lafayette Economic Development Authority for the reimbursement of relocation costs and operating costs in a temporary location. UL Lafayette will provide a 10-year land lease that will include a $600,000 in-kind contribution by the university for the first five years of the project, matched by a $400,000 performance-based state grant to the company over the sixth through 10th years of the lease.

“This collaboration will enable the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to build on its strong legacy in computer science,” UL Lafayette President Joseph Savoie said. “Through our strategic partnership with CGI, we will provide students with the knowledge and specific computer science skills needed by the software industry. This marriage of higher education and business will lead to innovation that is an essential element of today’s knowledge economy. By providing professionals needed by high-tech companies, UL Lafayette will play a key role in developing Louisiana’s economy.”

A key part of the project includes a state-funded, 10-year, $4.5 million higher education initiative led by UL Lafayette that will result in a tripling of the number of undergraduate degrees awarded annually by the university’s School of Computing and Informatics.

At full employment, the center will have a total annual payroll of about $22 million. LED estimates the project will result in an additional 405 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 800 new permanent jobs in Acadiana.

Governor Bobby Jindal said, “CGI is among the world’s leading providers of IT and business process services and represents yet another significant win for Louisiana’s fast-growing technology sector. This project provides further validation of our work to create a new Louisiana…The arrival of CGI in Lafayette means we will retain even more of our best and brightest graduates while also recruiting out-of-state talent who will recognize Louisiana as the best state for business and career opportunity.”

“We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the economic growth and vision of Lafayette and the surrounding region,” CGI executive Dr. James Peake, President of CGI Federal, a wholly owned subsidiary of CGI serving clients in the civilian, defense and intelligence sectors of the U.S. government.

“Our partnership with Lafayette represents a groundbreaking model for CGI – bringing together the local community to identify opportunities for innovation that can be applied globally, while tapping the talent and resources of Louisiana. As a continuation of our relationship with the state, this partnership will help create 400 jobs and serve as a model of corporate-community cooperation for keeping technology jobs in America,” he added.

“Today’s announcement by CGI is the culmination of more than 30 years of building a reputation that Lafayette, Louisiana, is a premier technology hub – not only in the South but in the entire U.S,” said President/CEO Gregg Gothreaux of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. “CGI officials recognize the strength of UL Lafayette’s superior education programs and specialized centers, and the community’s assets and innovative spirit. CGI’s decision to locate more than 400 jobs in Lafayette is another step in keeping our highly trained graduates in the area and in attracting those who want to make their home in Acadiana. At LEDA, we look forward to continuing our work with CGI as they become an integral part of the University’s Research Park and of our community.”

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