IBM will establish an Application Development and Innovation Center in Monroe, Louisiana. The location will provide software technology services to clients across the United States. IBM also will partner with CenturyLink on research, development and product innovation initiatives.
The IBM center in Monroe represents a multifaceted, transformational partnership that will include expanded higher-education programs related to computer science, as well as a major new technology park and mixed-use, real estate development that will catalyze new economic growth opportunities in Monroe, according to Louisiana Economic Development said. The IBM center will employ a broad range of college graduates and experienced professionals with backgrounds in computer science and other quantitative-intense fields, such as engineering, mathematics and science. Company officials expect the center to create 400 direct jobs.
The IBM center in Monroe will anchor a new 88-acre, mixed-use development employing smart-growth principles and will include a complementary mix of residential, commercial and recreational uses. The new development will be located along U.S. Highway 165 directly across from CenturyLink’s corporate headquarters. The mixed-use development will be located on land owned by CenturyLink that currently is undeveloped.
Governor Bobby Jindal said, “Two of the most successful economic development projects we’ve embarked upon in recent years are the multiple corporate headquarters expansion projects by CenturyLink in Monroe and the innovative public-private partnerships that created IBM’s technology center in downtown Baton Rouge. This project replicates those successes by combining two of the leading technology companies in the world in a partnership that will pay great dividends for the community and the economic future of Monroe, the Northeast Region and our entire state. This innovative partnership represents a big win that will bring about more business opportunities for generations to come. In addition to CenturyLink’s expansion, this project represents one of the most significant economic development announcements in Northeast Louisiana in decades.”
As part of the project, the State of Louisiana will provide $4.5 million in funding over 10 years for expanded higher-education programs designed primarily to increase the number of annual computer science graduates in Northeast Louisiana. The University of Louisiana at Monroe will expand its computer science and computer information systems programs while Louisiana Tech and Grambling State University will expand their technology programs in related areas, such as cyber engineering and data analytics.
The State of Louisiana will provide $12 million for construction of new office space for use by IBM, which will become an anchor tenant of the privately developed mixed-use complex. A University of Louisiana at Monroe foundation will own the IBM space and lease that space to the company.
“We’re proud to be part of this innovative public-private partnership with the State of Louisiana and CenturyLink to further develop highly valued skills and solutions expertise in security, analytics and mobility applications,” said IBM Senior Vice President Colleen Arnold. “Louisiana is the right place for high-tech job growth with an exceptional education system, business environment and workforce to serve the needs of our clients.”
IBM’s Application Development and Innovation Center in Monroe will follow the impending completion of CenturyLink’s new 300,000-square-foot Technology Center of Excellence, which expands the Monroe company’s headquarters space by 82 percent while adding an innovation hub for 800 new employees. That facility, which will open next month, fulfills a major part of two corporate headquarters and retention projects announced with the State of Louisiana in 2009 and 2011 that will create a total of 1,150 new direct jobs at CenturyLink and boost the company’s total Monroe-area employment to 2,600.
“CenturyLink’s partnership with IBM aligns our Information Technology investments with our strategic growth initiatives,” said CenturyLink CEO/President Glen Post. “It also supports our companywide transformation to an Internet Protocol, or IP-based, infrastructure, which enables a more agile IT development environment across CenturyLink. In addition, this initiative supports CenturyLink’s commitment to bring technology-based jobs to Louisiana and improve our workforce development and education climate. We appreciate our partnership with IBM and are glad we’ve been able to be a catalyst for their expansion plans in Monroe.”
LED, IBM and CenturyLink began formal discussions about the potential project in October 2014. To secure the project, LED offered IBM a customized, performance-based incentive package that includes $7.7 million in grants to reimburse relocation, recruitment, training and operating costs of the Monroe center. In addition, IBM will receive the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart – the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program – and the company is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs Program.